After more than 30 years, Ongeluksnek farmer Malefane Ramotsamai says farming is still is the heart of survival for his family.
His farm Avondale Farm, in Matatiele, is now part of AsgiSA Eastern Cape’s maize project.
“I have educated my children by selling maize and livestock. I have fed my family through farming and my children appreciate that,’ said Ramotsamai.
Community struggle turns into progress
“Our community has been struggling a lot. For so many years, we have not been assisted by government in agriculture. Although AsgiSA came a bit late, we have seen so much progress regarding agriculture in our community,” he said.
Ramotsamai’s ownership of Avondale Farm came in 1980
“Here at Ongeluksnek, the farms were previously owned by white farmers. These farms were bought by the previous government in 1978 and 1979 and were later handed over to Matanzima’s government. In 1980, the farms were made available and that’s when I applied for Avondale Farm,” said Ramotsamai.
Ramotsamai says he has worked hard on his farm to sustain his family and the community of Ongeluksnek.
“People in our community buy the maize from me. Fifty kilograms lasts only one month in a big family,” he said.
Ramotsamai said most farmers in Ongeluksnek stopped farming years ago because of the extreme poverty.
“AsgiSA EC changing to lives of people”
“Maize is very expensive these days and you have to get it from areas as far as Durban or Maritzburg. AsgiSA is really going to change the lives of people in our community. They will be able to get maize cheaper and they won’t have to travel,” he said.
“Our family is fully involved in farming. My children are very supportive and acknowledge that it was farming that helped school their families. Now one is a lawyer; the other is a teacher and my son works on the farm.”
Ramotsamai’s son Lehakoe said he enjoys farming a lot.
“It is something I grew up with. We ploughed and planted the fields. In our community, there are young people who love farming but have no resources. We have needed funding to plant vegetables and sell them so that people can have food on their tables. We hope that AsgiSA will make a change in our community,” said Lehakoe.
Ramotsamai said he hops that AsgiSA EC can help other rural areas in Matatiele because communities are suffering a lot,” said Ramotsamai.
He is also the secretary of the Ongeluksnek Farmers Association.