Young farmer represents TUT at Food for Mzansi fair

by Lucia Sikhosana

14 November 2023

TUT Alum, 33-year-old Dimpho Xaba, represented the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) at the recent “Food for Mzansi” event, a platform that promotes sustainability, rural development and agriculture. More than 300 farmers attended the event.  TUT partnered with the Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (YARD), to celebrate Gauteng Farmers' Day in honor and support of modern farmers in Gauteng.

Ndlela Xaba.

TUT extended a special invitation to exhibit their services to the Gender, Youth, and People with Disabilities (GEYODI) organisation at the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment (GDARDE). The exited Xaba said; “This was a significant gathering of agricultural enthusiasts, professionals and other stakeholders. I believe that the initiatives and support provided by GEYODI are vital to the growth and empowerment of marginalized communities in agriculture. He emphasised that Gauteng Farmers’ Day is a unique opportunity to connect with fellow farmers, agricultural experts and industry professionals. He added that the event was tailored for seasoned farmers, inspiring agricultural enthusiasts and anyone who is passionate about sustainable farming practices.

The Dr Sam Motsuenyane Foundation that funded one student from TUT in 2022 and received over 60 applications for the 2023 academic year, also attended the event. Themba Mathibe, CEO of the Foundation confirmed that they will fund some students enrolled for the Advanced Diploma in Crop Sciences. “Aligned with an MoU between our Foundation and TUT, 15 students were supported and they did their practicals on the Foundation’s farm in Winterveld and Dennilton,” he added.

Xaba’s journey in farming started in 2019 when he enrolled for a National Diploma in Agricultural Extension and Development at TUT. He grew up in a small farming town Maboloka in the Northwest, close to Brits. “At home, we used to do backyard gardening. It was fascinating to pass large farms on my way to Brits and back home,” he said.

According to Xaba farmers are resilient people and must have thick skins to be successful. “With growing crimes in the farming communities, climate change, disease outbreaks, deteriorating soil quality, lack of government support and high input costs, one must have skill and passion. Farmers are always willing to learn from fellow men and women in the industry,” he added.

Xaba has been a lecturer at the Department of Crop Sciences since 01 March 2021. Before this position he worked as a Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Crop Sciences. He is currently part of various departmental committees, including the Departmental Committee of Research and Innovation. During his student years, he has served in various University structures, such as the Post-graduate Forum. His areas of interest are Vegetable production, Biological Nitrogen Fixation, Crop production and Farmer Development. He holds has an M Tech Degree in Agriculture and is currently a PhD candidate.

In 2022, the National Youth Development Agency sponsored him to attend a summer school at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Through this exposure he was awarded a 136-hectare farm by the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. He has recruited four young people with whom he currently co-run the business, farming with grains on 51ha, vegetables on 2ha, as well as keeping bees on and processing the honey.

Ndlela Xaba addressing vistors at the Food for Mzansi fair.

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