Gabanakgosi Rapula of Ganki Holdings, which trades as Hornbill Agro-Tourism, says he had to leave teaching to follow his dream of becoming a horticultural farmer.
Situated along the A1 Highway near Rasesa in the Kgatleng District, Rapula says it currently produces tomatoes, green peppers, carrots and beetroots. He was assisted by the National Development Bank (NDB) and says he will approach the bank again for more capital to expand his operations.
A farmer with a background in teaching, Rapula set off to clear and prepare his farm for production immediately after he dropped his pen for a tractor in 2011. “This was the most important thing in my professional journey because I was always a farmer at heart,” he says.
NDB has helped him twice, the last time being through the bank’s current #FeedTheNation Campaign. He says farming is an expensive venture by nature because it requires a lot of electricity, which he is in the process of connecting to his farm to augment the solar power that he currently uses. He has five permanent employees and engages casual workers for harvesting.
On his farm, Rapula uses controlled environment in two greenhouses for a non-performing tomatoes and shade nets covering half a hectare. He currently supplies chain stores like Spar and Shoprite under the Freshmark label and believes he has the potential to do more to reduce importation of fresh produce from South Africa.