Letter from our CEO, Nyiko Maluleke
Growth and new ventures
A warm thanks to every one of our funders for making Buhle’s work possible. Your support enabled us to train 592 new farmers and visit 220 farmers to support them on their own farms in 2018.
We also gained several new funders last year. Welcome to Sasol, Nedbank and Santam. We are extremely pleased to have you on board.
Buhle’s mission is to train new farmers to run profitable and sustainable farming businesses. In our 18 years of existence, this mission hasn’t changed, because it has remained as necessary as ever. Land reform will remain an urgent challenge in South Africa for years to come. We have no doubt that there will be a need for our services way into the future.
As our funders know, Buhle raises some of the funds that our training academy needs through our own farming and consulting activities. Buhle Farming and Services (Pty) Ltd, or BFS, is a private company that Buhle established in 2009, and which started to be active in 2016 with the aim of generating profits to help fund the Buhle NPO.
Previously, we were mainly producing dryland soya, maize and green mielies, farming on both the working farm at our training academy and on another 500 hectares that we rented outside Delmas. Last year, we started intensive farming on our farm, introducing new crops including cucumber and potatoes, and installing a substantial irrigation system of 16ha Centre Pivot. This will enable us to plant three crops per year on this land.
The more intensive approach has set us up to raise as much money as previously, or even more, farming just on our own land. Hence, we relinquished the rented land, saving on large rental costs.
The new approach is enabling us to start supplying the needs of various large companies requiring agricultural produce for their own processing purposes – and it is already proving successful. We are also teaching our students the importance of the principle we are implementing: to make maximum use of the land we have instead of seeking to continually expand it.
It’s not only the size of one’s land but also what we do with it that counts.
My vision is for Buhle to become known, country-wide, as the Centre of Excellence in farmer training; to set up campuses in other agricultural regions of South Africa, where different commodities are produced, and for BFS to increase its commercial activities to include agro-processing, so that we can benefit from the entire agricultural value chain.
We now have more funding partners than ever, thanks to the entire Buhle staff for the substantial fundraising efforts and the generosity of our supporters. Buhle looks forward to further growth this year, and our future looks bright.
Once again, thank you all for partnering with us to empower the new farmers of South Africa.
CEO: Buhle Farmers’ Academy