Solomon Masango wins SAB Maize Farmer of the Year Award
Solomon Masango tried his hand at a number of jobs before settling for farming.
For the past nine years he has leased land in Mpumalanga from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, planting maize and soya beans.
Solomon was recently awarded SAB’s Maize Farmer of the Year during an annual agricultural event held in Caledon. The award recognises his contribution to supplying the brewing giant with local ingredients to produce its beers – currently SAB sources 97% of its ingredients locally.
He receives agricultural support services from FarmSol, which was set up by SAB specifically for the task of supporting emerging farmers with zero-interest bearing loans, and helps with procurement, mechanisation and advice while also entering into guaranteed offtake agreements which ensure a reliable income.
But farming was far from his first career. Solomon’s first job was as a driver at a mining company in Johannesburg, working his way up to earning his mining and then blasting tickets, where he later was promoted to field services manager and then into management. After desiring to be his own boss, he moved back to Mpumalanga and became the owner of a fleet of school buses, but soon felt that farming was his calling.
He left his business and started to farm with a scant R500 000 behind him. “My first venture was cattle farming, but it’s a hard gig, and I switched over to crops.” His 50- hectares of land yielded a crop of maize. And, taking advantage of courses offered by FarmSol, he learned more about crop rotation, which is why he also plants soya beans.
In 2018, Solomon planted his first crop alongside Farmsol and delivered 636,73 tonnes of maize at a yield of 6,37.
In 2015 he won farmer of the year in the Grain SA New Commercial Farmer of the Year awards.
With his family backing him, and his oldest son at Buhle Agricultural College, the family looks set to continue the farming tradition Masango has started. He has created six jobs, and is a contented man, from dynamite to maize, his future is bright.