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Chengeta still dreams onon

21 Apr 2021

 Dreaming big was always what Mr Ndinaye Chengeta did from an early age.    

   He dreamed of big projects that he could do to change his fortunes and that of the country and its people.

   With loads of energy and dreams, he also believed that he could change the world for the better and was determined to give it a try.

 Dreaming of helping young aspiring farmers to get off the ground, Mr Chengeta bought an 8.3 hectare piece of land along the Molepolole/Serinane road.

  The 42-year-old Zwenshambe born businessman then proceeded to upload his ideas on how he planned to uplift young farmers on his Facebook page.  The initiative received much publicity on social media and on the air waves.

As expected, it also attracted public scrutiny, criticism, tongue lashing and the naysayers who pronounced it dead even before its birth.  

He was not fazed by the naysayers and was in fact expecting the backlash. He said he was prepared for all the negativity because his ideas were complex for the ordinary man to fathom.

The ideas were also simple enough for serious minded young farmers to understand as he wanted to give them access to land and water to start their agricultural projects  

However, it rubbed some sections of society the wrong way and they blasted Mr Chengeta on social media.

The young farmer said the COVID-19 pandemic and being isolated during the first lockdown got his dreaming on overdrive.

 His dreams, fortunately, also got overwhelmingly support from many young aspiring farmers. 

He started with the goat initiative which attracted more than 600 young farmers who raised over P1.8 million.  

They bought the first batch of over 300 goats in November last year from Namibia.  

Mr Chengeta divided the over 300 group into manageble groups of 20 with each group autonomous in decision making. They also have their own constitutions that guides them. 

Each group raised P30 000 to buy goats and P18 000 was set aside for feeds and medicine. 

He also stressed that each group was required to contribute P12 000  for management, administration and the running costs of the farm for one year.

He also noted that one of his challenges was that he could not dictate to members how to use their profits from the farm.

He said the goat initiative made him to realise that group dynamics were more pronounced that he thought. He said group dynamics determined the shape and form of the initiative and that after each group got their money, it was every man for himself.

Mr Chengeta said the goat initiative was a learning experience and that he would not make the same mistake in other projects.

He said in the future decision making would be decentralised to group representatives, and that there would be a purchasing group, bio security group, accounts and cooperatives group.  

He further stated that groups would take care of their funds and how they used them, adding that he could give advice but not make decisions for them.

He noted that some of the initial group members in the goat farming initiative had since quit and sold their animals because there were conflicting ideas and logistical challenges.

Mr Chengeta also said other initiatives apart from the goat project were performing  well.  He said the poultry initiative, which they started around February this year, was doing well.

As for the sheep initiative, he said the project would only start after the fodder production project to ensure feed was available. 

He also stated that he wanted full accountability for the sheep project and would ensure that all loopholes were plucked. 

He rubbished rumours on social media that the project was a failure and that some felt they had been duped.

“This is a massive project and the dynamics of the number of people involved are many,” he said.  

To deal with the challenges, Mr Chengeta said he would make the groups even smaller in order to micro manage them. He also said each group would come up with its own constitution and that it would help him to evade any liability.

Still having positive dreams, Mr Chengeta is resolute and determined to see his vision materialise. 

He said the initiatives were meant to kick-start the careers of young people into farming and that after 12 months they could decide to go on their own.

Ms Tumisang Badumi, 33, joined all the two initiatives and is happy with her investment so far. She said she started with joining the poultry initiative in January and ultimately joined the sheep initiative as she got more interested in farming.

She further revealed that she developed passion for farming after she joined the two initiatives.  She now aspires to buy her own farm and to put into practice what she learned from Mr Chengeta’s farm for her own benefit.  The Bobonong native emphasised that just like any other project, there would be challenges and that they were learning experiences.

Ms Portia Mooketsi, who also joined the goat as well as the poultry initiative, has a different perspective.  

She said the P3 000 each member contributed for the goat initiative was too little for any aspiring farmer to have a sustainable farming enterprise.

She said Mr Chengeta made things easy for them with the little cash each one of them injected into the project.  

She added that no one could give you land and water for the entire year for only P3 000. She also commended Mr Chengeta for granting them the opportunity to learn and gain skills.

She said those peddling negative  views were narrow minded and that it should be expected in any group. 

The projects, she said, had opened her eyes and also made her to dream of a successful farming career.

Mr Chengeta’s dream has also rubbed on Ms Mooketsi and she sees herself as a successul farmer in future. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Lindi Morwaeng


Event : Interview

Date : 21 Apr 2021