What began as an idea has now become a viable business with 11 employees. Boikago Phole speaks with Staff Writer TSHEPISO GABOTLHOMOLWE about his small stock, poultry and horticulture business, Diseko Agri, in Thamaga
Phole owns 32 hectares of land in Thamaga where he has farming ventures that began as an idea in 2005 and came to life in 2012 on 7ha of land. It started as an experiment on a small piece of land under arid weather conditions.
On the farm, Phole grows both red and white cabbages, tomatoes, green peppers, egg plants, okra and onions and practices crop rotation for seasonal vegetables like watermelons and butternuts. He also rears sheep, goats and chickens.
Phole says that he raised a loan from the National Development Bank (NDB) under its Temo Bokamoso initiative in 2010 when he was still employed and serviced the loan from his salary, which he completed in 2012. He used the money to complete his borehole and continue his small scale farming business.
Phole says he has since been working on implementing new methods of farming. The fluctuation of high and low temperatures over the seasons motivated him to start more controlled ways of ploughing, using shade nets, green houses and open fields.
Phole says he tried the shade net method on a 2ha piece of land first and was happy with the results. This motivated him to produce on a larger scale. He therefore approached NDB for a loan again in October 2020, which was approved in November 2020.
Phole says one of the reasons for approaching NDB was the effects of COVID-19 on his business. He is still at the implementation stage of his expansion, which is moving slowly due to travel restrictions.
He aims to have a warehouse for ensuring the safety and quality of his produce of vegetables and meat. Phole says the remaining part of the farm will be used for recreation and plans building a dam and swimming pools fully decorated with flowers and other plants to be hired for social events.