Grow Farm

OUT OF RETIREMENT TO FARM

Vivian Gosekwang Pico wins SAB Female Emerging Farmer of the Year Award

It’s not every day that a woman takes on a farm upon retirement, but Vivian Gosekwang Pico did just that, and has been awarded the 2019 SAB & AB InBev Africa award as best emerging female farmer for her efforts.

Vivian worked at the Taung Agricultural College in the dairy section, until she reached pensionable age, and then she took on her second career farming barley, maize, and groundnuts when her husband, Mosieleng Herberg Pico, took ill.

While her husband still assists when he can, Vivien essentially manages and farms the 10-hectare farm on her own and has done since 2008 on the farm they lease from the chief in Taung in the North West Province. “My father-in-law farmed the land before my husband and I took it over, meaning farming runs in the family,” she said.

She supplies SAB of barley and maize – she delivered 91-tonnes of barley last season – and has received advice and mentorship from the brewer, the most valuable advice of which has been financial advice. For this indomitable women farmer, the working day starts at 05h00 and ends 12 hours later. “It makes me happy to be able share the fruits of my labour with my family.”

She is mentored by FarmSol, a SAB Thrive Fund initiative and a black-owned agricultural services company focused on incubating emerging farmers into fully-fledged, future-fit, sustainable enterprises.

Vivien was recently awarded the ‘Emerging Female Farmer of the Year Award’ by SAB during an annual agricultural event held in Caledon. The award is to recognise her contribution to supply the brewing giant with local ingredients to produce its beers – currently SAB sources 97% of its ingredients locally.

Vivian believes she was called by God to take on this work, and does it faithfully and with joy, hoping that her eldest son will one day take over the farm.

Vivian has worked out other ways to extend her income and the farms’ influence, she owns tractors and plows and contracts to assist other farmers in the area with transporting their crops to the silo at harvest time.

With her fields filled with barley and maize, she also plants pumpkin and wheat.

Vivian is proof that retirement does not mean stopping working, and she has grabbed the challenge with both hands, looking at ways to improve her knowledge and share it with others.

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