FRANCISTOWN: For most men in their late 20s, life is all about residing in the city, luxury and partying. However, for Shabani Tshambani that was not his dream.
True to the ideals of Vision 2016, an innovative and productive nation, Tshambani a native of Mosetse village abandoned his job in the army and turned to commercial farming.
Tshambani told The Monitor that he quit the military in 2012 to focus on commercial farming.
As a youthful bachelor, Tshambani harboured a dream to own close to 200 hectares of farming land to plough various crops and feed the nation. He wanted to possibly produce enough supply for the country.
Tshambani currently owns 80 hectares of farming land, but wishes he could have a bigger farm to be able to plough and produce crops to meet expectations.
“In our culture we know that a man should use their hands to feed their families and this is what motivated me to come up with this business idea,” he said.
He inherited the love for farming from his father, Gaopatwe Tshambani, who died in 2012. “I grew up helping my father at the farm. I learnt all the ploughing skills at a tender age when I was schooling at primary level. When I was doing Standard Six I was able to plough using a tractor,” said Tshambani, who grew up in a family that has been depending on farming for survival.
He said the death of his father motivated him to focus on commercial farming to be able to take over his father’s responsibilities as the head of the family. “My mother, Tebelelo Tshambani, 75, is my adviser. With the profit I make from my produce I am able to take care of my family,” Tshambani said.
He said for the past three years he has been specialising in
He also ploughs lab-lab (fodder) for commercial purpose and to feed his cattle.
Tshambani said that in 2001 a South African Dutch man who was a manager at Masedi Farms in Phandamatenga visited his father’s farm and found him ploughing with a tractor and was so impressed.
“During that time I was schooling at a secondary school and the Dutch man volunteered to train me further in farming. I always visited his farm during school holidays to learn more about farming techniques,” Tshambani said.
He said currently his mentor, Joe Linga, is a popular farmer in the area.
He said farming is profitable when there is enough rainfall because as an arable farmer he depends on it for irrigation.
He said last year he ploughed 40 hectares of sorghum and harvested 175 bags. “In January this year I ploughed 22 hectares of sorghum and I am expecting good harvest from it because the yield is quiet impressive. I ploughed 45 hectares of sorghum last December, but it did not germinate because of poor rains and excessive heat,” Tshambani said, adding that the only huge challenge they are facing as dry farmers is unreliable rainfall.
He said that he has two boreholes in the farm, one being 135 metres deep and another 140, but due to poor rains in the area they never get enough water.
Tshambani said that he once visited the banks for possible funding, but did not qualify. “The banks said I could only qualify if I owned a 150 hectares instead of the 80 hectares I have,” he added.