Riverside Farm Layers.
Writes:‘Makarabo Mats’umunyane and Ts’epo Heqoa
Riverside is a fresh produce farm that is primarily based in the production of eggs and pigs (for production of pork). The farm is located at Khanyane in Leribe district. The proprietor of the farm, ‘Malerato Khoeli, said that they started tilting the soil on that place towards the end of 2013, and in January 2014 they started keeping chicken layers. The farm’s launch was officially completed in December 2018 following receiving funds from Small-holder Agricultural Development Project commonly known as SADP. Mrs Khoeli said that farming is her passion and she grew up in a family of four children who were raised by both crop farming and livestock keeping. The family had hundreds of indigenous chickens, a lot of sheep, cattle and produced grains and crops. She also explained that even girls of the family were actively engaged in keeping and taking care of animals which is commonly considered as an anti-social act.
Therefore her farming background taught her that one of the sustainable sectors is the agricultural sector since his father also had a grocery shop that did not thrive whereas farming continued to sustain their family. She further said that when they started in 2014, they had only one building which carried a capacity of 2 740 chicken. They only had one pig sty where they kept their two pigs; a sow and a boar, and that in 2016 they also started to keep some sheep. She stated that their aim was to diversify as much as possible, as her family is even engaged in harvesting fields and producing grains and by the end of 2018, they had already cultivated about 20 hectors of land.They have two fields of their own and they lease some fields from people living around them who are not able to utilize their land due to financial challenges.
Moreover, they continued to expand their structures for increased production of eggs and even built more pig hogs, improved their systems of water supply and storage of animal feed. As the farm was growing and as they increased their production, they consulted Extension Officers who advised them to apply for an agricultural funding from SADP and even guided the proposal. Their application for funding from SADP was accepted and the fund helped them in advertising; setting up advertising boards, websites, as well as improving their packaging through the purchase of a sorting and packaging machine, and developing a bar code for riverside eggs.
Currently, Riverside farm has a capacity of about 20 160 layers that are distributed in five structures where they are separated based on their batch intakes so that the farm can operate sustainably with different egg sizes. Apart from the increased egg-production, Riverside also has increased their piggery production and improved their herd, as they are now keeping genetically improved breeds from PIC (boars and Camboroughs) as well as the Durok breed, that they had kept from the beginning of their piggery.
They breed their own sows and produce piglets, grow them and then sell fully-grown pigs to butcheries. According to Mrs Khoeli, they do not face a lot of challenges in regard to animal diseases because they buy point-of-lay chicken which are normally fully immunised.The only condition that they often meet is cannibalism, which they have learnt to monitor by separating out wounded individuals. In piggery, they once encountered mild cases of pneumonia but they managed to overcome that. In addition, they target a diverse market ranging from the formal markets through to the informal markets. In the formal markets, they face a challenge of some foreigners that sell at lower prices resulting in their eggs staying long on shelves which in turn results in reduced prices. In conclusion, on the 7th December 2018, SADP and Riverside farm was officially celebrating the completion and success of the project launch.
Egg classifying machine.