Madi — Madi passionate about his grazing land
At the age of 71 years, Absalom Madi is very passionate about his childhood inherited trade, farming, and is still going strong.
He is a direct product of the provincial government’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme as espoused by the department of agriculture, rural development and land administration.
Owning 549 hectares of land at his renowned, Siyaphambili CPA situated in Amersfoort in Pixley ka Seme local municipality, Madi boasts of 227 herd of cattle, 76 sheep, 80 goats, 76 pigs, four horses and one donkey.
“I’m very happy that the government came about assisting us farmers at my age at the dawn of the new democracy in the country. It’s a pity the new generation is not much interested in agriculture, on the contrary, I’m happy when I’m on my farm because this is me and this is my life,” he enthuses.
Madi is one of the livestock farmers who graze their animals solely for the market – upmarket butcheries and ordinary supplies to the general public’s purchasing outlets. He breeds young male cattle for auctioning for tenderised soft meat for upmarket outlets.
Older cattle are sold at the auctions to the department of correctional services and hostels, including the general market outlets – in short, in red meat supply, he is one of the quality meat suppliers for major quality meat buyers.
His sheep are still being bred and needs to have more in stock, although he does supply on a smaller scale for the upmarket during auctions. As for his goats, he sometimes assists the local community who utilise them for cultural rites.
“As the 2010 FIFA World Cup is already on our door-step, there is a high demand from suppliers for tenderised meat, which I am going to play a very important role, and I’m based here in the rural areas,” he boasted.
Old man Madi, is one of the exponents of farm-dwellers that craved a living out of farming than migrating to the mines during the apartheid era.
“I’m illiterate because I grew up under a father who was a subsistence farmer. I grew up as a cattle herder and know the value of livestock. We were a family of seven girls and I was the only boy and took up the legacy whilst my peers ventured into the mines in Johannesburg, I remained behind.
“I nurtured my art of livestock farming even more during difficult times around 1961 when we were ousted from the farm we grew up in, because the white farmer couldn’t stand noticing our growing livestock.
“Whilst the likes of OTK came to the rescue of white farmers, we were chased away and settled in Daggaskraal in 1969, but at least they didn’t take our cattle. We were all allocated 10 hectares of land, including those who went to the mines, some never to return. We utilised the land profitably in their absence, to date,” he points out emphatically.
2010, he says, is his sixth harvest on his farm which he obtained through the land reform programme in 2003 for a mere R300 000.
On his vast, somehow hilly farm, he uses most of it for livestock grazing, while the remainder of which is nine hectares, he sows maize, dry beans and hay for animal feed. “I don’t sell the maize and dry beans l grow here, but feed my livestock with it so I can produce quality products for the markets out there,” he said.
All his three boys and three girls, only one, Bafana Zacharia Madi works full time on the farm, although even the others grew up working on the farm before they went their separate ways in life – one is a teacher and another an emergency services worker.
As we left the farm, Madi prodded over the bad harvest he experienced this season, with the constant rains which ruined his maize plants, despite also having spent lots of money on spraying chemicals to get rid of the cosmos flowers, which affected their production, but he remained very optimistic as he said: “Although I lost money on spraying which was washed out by the rains, this is a win and lose game, at least with the remains, I can still feed my animals.”
- Siyaphambili is one of the farming communities in Pixley ka Seme local municipality that are dependent on farming for their livelihood. They make up 50 percent of the entire community.
- They include areas in Daggakraal, Amersfoort, Wakkerstroom, Perdeskop and Volksrust, among others. The biggest among these is Daggakraal with a population of more than 80 000 people.
- Ms Octavia Matlala is one of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs’ Extension Officers who service the above-mentioned areas. She points out that they offer advice to the farmers and the most prevalent is lack of resources and equipment. She also pin-points that there are also conflicts among local communities as local political structures want to control the process.
- Funding is organised for local farmers through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and that funding is dependent on the need of implementation, which is directed at infrastructure, fencing, tractors, seeds, manure and chemicals.
- There is no problem of water in the area as the farms are serviced by boreholes and reservoirs and others are having their irrigation systems completed.
Markets for local farmers are organised through Highveld Food Packers, OTK and those in Amersfoort are selling locally for domestic use. Main crops are maize and dry beans.