In a quest to supplement his meagre teacher’s salary, 47-year old Albert Shima Podisa went into integrated farming which he says has turned into a highly profitable business that has changed his life for the better.
On a 100-hectare farm in Barolong Farms, the teacher-cum-farmer grows vegetables and keeps livestock comprising poultry, sheep, goats, cattle and pigs which he sells to Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), other farmers and people in the area.
Having initially funded the project from his own pocket, Podisa turned to the National Development Bank (NDB) for more funding to buy machinery for his farm and the go-to agri-bank that finances individuals, both citizens and non-citizens residing in Botswana, extended loans of P210.000 in 2012 and P350.000 in 2013. He purchased a tractor and a silage cutting machine.
The farm has grown in leaps and bounds, and Podisa has moved from rented land to this farm that he bought as revenue improved. Much has improved on the farm that now has four employees. Even so, Podisa says like any other businessman, he encounters problems from time to time. He cites lack of sufficient land, high fuel prices, irregular weather conditions, and a rather poor work ethic as some of his biggest challenges.
He regards his farm as a life changer that has brought him financial freedom, as well as knowledge and skills that he never thought he would acquire. He plans on going back to NDB for more financing to purchase more land for future expansion so that he may add sorghum for its suitability to the climate and weather in Barolong Farms.