Lovedalia Njabulo Mbokane wins SAB Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award
Ermelo-born farmer Lovedalia Njabulo Mbokane, 24, believes that her farming career chose her.
She started farming in 2016 wanting to create job opportunities for all, especially black young women. Today she farms yellow maize and non-GMO crops and is expanding into livestock. She balances being a farmer at heart, while also being a mother.
Her 200-hectare farm, which she leases, supplies SAB with non-genetically modified organism yellow maize, and provides permanent employment for three people and casual labour for 13 people during the busy harvesting season. As the seasons change on a farm so do the tasks, permanent employees look after the livestock on a daily basis. Contractors are hired to do reaping, disking, planting, spraying and harvesting.
This intrepid young woman first started supplying SAB in 2018, barely two years after she started farming.
Lovedalia credits SAB with helping her to grow as a farmer, through mechanisation, training, valuable inputs, and mentorship provided by the FarmSol programme. FarmSol is a SAB Thrive Fund initiative and a black-owned agricultural services company focused on incubating emerging farmers into fully-fledged, future-fit, sustainable enterprises attaining higher improved quality yields. “I love the challenge of farming and watching my crops grow,” she says.
Lovedalia was recently awarded the ‘Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award’ by SAB during an annual agricultural event held in Caledon. The award recognised her contribution to supply the brewing giant with local ingredients to produce its beers – currently SAB sources 97% of its ingredients locally.
As with anything worthwhile there are challenges, Lovedalia says she constantly has to prove herself as a young black woman working in a traditionally male-dominated industry. “I face my critics with the fact that I have had training in farming and continue to push myself to grow and learn.”
In her spare time, Lovedalia goes to gym, enjoys working in her garden and reading philosophy books.
Her message to young women is: “Follow your dreams and know that you might start small. I still have challenges to meet; I’d like to own my own land and machinery.”