Paul Matsego is a determined young man who found his niche in farming. He is the epitome of young success in that he is dabbling in professional farming at an early age.
The village of his birth, Mianzwi in Limpopo, has contributed to his love of farming. His parents and grandparents were subsistence farmers and he would join them whenever they went to the farm.
“I was still young when I joined my parents and grandparents on the farm. I had a very wonderful experience because I would see them planting and harvesting. When I grew up is then that I realised that I can do this very thing, and it’s possible.”
Later on, Paul moved to another village, Tshiulungoma, and then to Tshiombo.
He had, along the years, forgotten about earlier involvement in farming and rather focused on school and living. However, in 2016, he saw people from his village selling sweet potatoes, muxe, mutshaini and mealies at Malamulele and people bought their goods.
“What surprised me was that there were no young persons among them; it was only elderly people. Then I thought, why are youths not involved? This is good work where one still makes a profit!”
It dawned on Paul that his grandfather’s farm had been dormant since he had passed away some years before. No family members were making use of it at that time.
“I called my grandmother and proposed to make use of a portion of the farm and she didn’t hesitate to grant me the permission. She even said that she believed in me and those were the words which encouraged me.”
Soon Paul turned the piece of the farm into a field gleaming with the green of vegetable produce. He also had goats, chickens, pigs, ducks, rabbits and turkeys.
He has since developed his market via social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. He moves around Malamulele with his products at the back of his bakkie (pickup truck) and finds that people flock around him because of the quality of his products.
“Today I supply to retail stores and supermarkets. But I don’t usually supply to them because they negotiate prodigious discounts which negatively affect my profit.”
Paul does not regret choosing farming as his career. In fact, he feels it is the best decision he has ever made.
“Farming is practical; through the years I managed to gain more than what I could not have gained in the classroom.”
He created both permanent and part-time jobs on his farm for many people, including mentoring youths who want to venture into farming.
“In farming, every day is a pay day, and dirty hands mean clean money.”
He uses water from the Mutale River, and his biggest challenge is drought because water levels subside in hot conditions.
“I don’t have a borehole of my own at this stage; I rely solely on the river water for my farming. But if lose crops due to drought, I use those damaged crops to feed my livestock.”
Farming has taught Paul to be patient and endure hardship. The process has also given him faith; he has to wait for the seed to germinate, sprout in the soil and eventually grow into a plant. This takes time and there is no guarantee that it will happen as planned.
He is always disturbed by talk from young people when they say there are no jobs in the country. He knows it’s hard out there but he has some advice for anyone feeling like there is no hope in the job market today.
“What are you doing to redeem the situation?” he asks. “The best employer could be yourself!”
Tell us: What do you think of young people venturing into farming?