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Resilience Art of cattle rearing

23 Mar 2021

For many individuals, especially the youth, they quit their otherwise promising ventures at the first sight of a huddle, a typical scenario of quitting while one is about to dig out a diamond.

However, those resilient enough to go all the way often enjoy the benefits of their sweat after years, and one such farmer is Mr Moffat Thibedi of Kaduwe lands near Jwaneng.

A native of Thibedi Ward in Molepolole, Mr Thibedi has been an example of perseverance over the years as he managed to raise a large number of cattle without a borehole. 

He survived through bulking by private suppliers since he came to the area after seeing it sprawling and lying underutilised during an official trip while still a civil servant.

“I started this cattle project here while I was still employed as a civil servant and my cattle were mainly in the hands of the herd boys. 

I only used the cattlepost as a hobby after hours and during the weekend, but then I realised that there was some potential, only that my herders were not that diligent and let astray many of my cattle.

The situation was made worse by the fact that as a civil servant, he was often transferred around the country to places where it was difficult to visit his cattlepost often. 

That is what drove me into an early retirement to be engaged as a fulltime farmer,” he said.

He said that after quitting his job it was then that he fully realised the benefits, and mostly challenges, of the cattle industry. 

“At first it was difficult because I was being transfer around, and after my early retirement in 1994 I started buying cattle from individuals and that is when I started using my van to water my cattle,” he said.

He said that when the cattle numbers reached  200 they became too much for his van and that was when he started using individual suppliers. 

Mr Thibedi said that although he had access to one of his neighbour’s boreholes when he started, he preferred to bulk as he did not want his cattle to mix with others

He said he wanted to water them inside his kraals for easy management, especially that he did not have reliable herd boys.

Mr Thibedi said that his main reasons for not having a borehole was the fact that the water table in the area was very low, and that chances of hitting a blank, a dread for any farmer, was drastically high.

“I know that there is never any guarantee that one would hit water when they drill anywhere, but in this area the chances are very high as the water table is generally too deep. 

Again, even if one hits the water, there is always that high chance that the water would be too saline even for animal consumption,” he said.

He indicated that that was the main reasons that informed him to resort to bulking through individual suppliers. 

Mr Thibedi said that even though bulking could be costly, it was better than risking sinking a borehole.“At the moment I cannot allow my cattle to go beyond 200 because it would be costly. At one point when they hovered around that number and I felt the costs and now I only keep them as low as it could be cost effective,” he said, getting modest about his herd that currently numbers around 150.

Mr Thibedi however, admitted that at that number it could still be expensive as he parts with around P10 000 monthly to pay his suppliers.Mr Thibedi said that although bulking has sustained him for so long, he now felt that it was time to drill his own borehole, hence a decision to relocate to Maboane in Kweneng where he has bought a ploughing field.

“I have already finished kraals and moved my goats there and secured water. 

I was forced to sell a large herd of my cattle to reduce chances of them getting astray as it’s often the case when cattle are relocated. 

I will also be bulking until I can manage to drill a borehole of my own, and the beautiful thing about the Maboane area is that there is a lot of water there. 

The water table is not that deep and the water is portable,” he said.

On how he managed to persevere for so long without reliable water, Mr Thibedi said that such was the nature of farming as it was not without challenges. 

He said that rearing cattle needed perseverance and love. 

“There are many kinds of investments, and investing in cattle is one of the best forms of investment. 

All it needs is love, perseverance and patience because cattle do not convert into money instantly,” he advised.

He said if one loves cattle, they would love them back, before indicating that he has never taken any loan for any of his projects, including his multi-bedroomed house. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Olekantse Sennamose

Location : JWANENG

Event : Parliament

Date : 23 Mar 2021