Bayanda Vincent Maseko (32) was born in Ratanda, a township south of Heidelberg in Gauteng. He is one of the more than 320 emerging farmers from the Gert Sibande Municipality who has been upskilled through the Sasol Farmers Development Programme, an initiative implemented in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), Buhle Farmers Academy and the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) and now consolidated under the revitalised Bridge to Work Iphepe Farmer Development programme.
Bayanda is the director of Noliqua Legacy and co-founder of Ingwempisi Farming Projects Cooperative based in Nigel in Gauteng. His 78ha farm is situated in Balfour, which falls under the Dipaleseng Local Municipality. The farm primarily focuses on poultry farming and egg production, and has a 6 200-capacity layer house and 5 000 free-range layer house. The farm currently produces 2 000 eggs that it supplies to local restaurants, shops and the informal market.
Bayanda has demarcated 43ha of the farm to plant maize and a half hectare for vegetable gardens where he has planted spinach, lettuce and beetroot.
“The crop production module changed my perspective on farming; it offered me insights on crop production and served as great motivation for me to go out and look for assistance and information from the neighbouring farmers on how to plant maize and vegetables on a small scale in order to learn and grow my business further,” he added.
Bayanda is looking to increase his farm’s egg production capacity and is currently looking for assistance with inputs for the layer project.
“We have the infrastructure and equipment. We only need inputs to be at full capacity in order to meet our supply demand of eggs in the market. We have recently been certified by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This is important because it shows we have the capacity to be one of the largest black layer farmers in the country,” said Bayanda.
His short-term goals are to fix the boreholes on the farm in order to have efficient water supply to work the land, to build 40 000-capacity egg production houses each year for the next five years to reach a 200 000 capacity.
“In the long term I would like to establish an egg powder processing plant that will supply both the local and
international market. I also want to invest in solar or biogas energy as one of the major challenges to run the farm is stable electricity supply and current costs are too high for us to keep up,” he concluded.
Bayanda believes emerging farmers need to be empowered with education and programmes like the Sasol Farmers Development Programme on all aspects of farming. They also need to be properly mentored and supported.