KZN DARD MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, has challenged all those who publicly dangle their farm-owner status but have nothing to show for it, to take a leaf from Dacky Ngcobo’s book, a self-made dairy farmer and a pensioner, who has turned his fortunes from being “a farm boy” to an owner of Summehill, a newly upgraded dairy farm, in Donnybrook.
Sithole-Moloi said 66 year-old Ngcobo’s entrepreneurial acumen, passion and hard work laid bare the laziness of those who often declare their farm ownership status but have not a single day’s farm work done on their land adding that they are an insult to the Freedom Charter’s declaration which states that, “the land shall be shared among those who work it”
“Don’t tell us that you own a farm, show us what you are doing in it. We should not be having any worries about food insecurity when the land restitution programme provided land, timeously, to avoid hunger and famine during times as these of Covid-19.
They seem to have forgotten the last part of this declaration that says, “shared among those who work it”. Therefore, work it, don’t talk about it,” she said.
Ngcobo privately bought the 123 hectares farm in 2003 and initiated a ramshackle dairy business, a feat that had him have a number of run-ins with health inspectors until Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA), a DARD public entity, invested R10 967 106 in the development of the dairy farm in 2016.
Also with the help of his neighbour, friend and an unofficial mentor, Rob Stapelton Smith, a commercial dairy farmer too, Summerhill now milks 160 cows and supplies the produce to Creighton Dairies, which is 10 kilometres from Summerhill and it reaches the shops province wide as Farmgate Dairies.
Furthermore, the farm has 20 hectare of yellow maize, 11 hectare of rye grass and kikuyu pastures giving it a potential carrying capacity of 300 cows. The current milk production is 6000 litres of milk every second day. Ngcobo said he is grateful to ADA for the support and solving of his problems with health inspectors but was even more thankful to his friend and mentor, Smith, whom he said has taken him step by step through the process of dairy farm and even breaking him into the market. Smith said he could not resist helping seeing the passion, entrepreneurial spirit and hard work of a man of an uneducated man who milked and transported his own milk to customers, sometimes using public transport.