Over the years there has been a deep concern especially by the government that young people are not into Agriculture despite it being one of the sectors that can help them escape the current plague of unemployment. This however, seems to be becoming a cry of the past as the youth have now started to show enormous interest in the sector and some have taken a bold step to be farmers.
The two Sekobye brothers being Tshiamo Sekobye, 38, and Tlamelo Sekobye, 32, are among the few young people who have decided to tap into the farming industry. Tshiamo Sekobye farms the Brahman breed while his younger brother Tlamelo farms the Simmental breed. Their farm is based in Dikgokonnye in the Kgatleng District.
The two brothers started from humble beginnings with Tshiamo having started in 2012 with a grey Brahman bull and 2 heifers which he bought from Letsomo Stud Ranches owned by Leonard Morakaladi, and Tlamelo joined his older brother in 2013 with the Simmental breed which they also bought from the same gentleman.
Speaking to Farmer’s Magazine Botswana in an interview, Tshiamo said that like many families in Botswana they come from a family that has been involved in farming, so it can concluded that the Sekobye brothers have been farmers from a tender age. Later in 2008 Tshiamo said that he decided to have his own farm and he then looked for land which he was fortunate enough to find in Dikgokonnye in the Kgatleng District. He bought a 16ha field at the aforementioned location.
In 2009 he fenced his field using his own money. It was only in 2011 that he started to develop his field after battling with land disputes in 2010. The developments he did in that year to his field included construction of 6 kraals and drilling of a borehole. Tshiamo told Farmer’s Magazine Botswana that he hit a blank twice before he was able to find water. He officially started his farming in 2012 when he bought the two grey Brahman cows and a bull from Leonard Morakaladi. He bought the animals with his own money after sacrificing his Corolla 1.3 and also his salary. He said that he opted for the Brahman through a gentleman called Jacob Molemi who farms them adding that he also has always loved the breed.
In 2013 Tshiamo decided to increase his herd. It was then that he got a bank loan and bought 12 heifers still from Morakaladi. Quizzed on why Morakaladi, Tshiamo said that he has realized that Botswana has serious farmers who breed quality animals, and it is for this reason that he settled for Morakaladi’s animals because they are of high quality. He also said that he has learned a lot from the same gentleman-things which he did not know before like the difference between a stud and a commercial herd.
Tshiamo said that to make sure that he breeds quality animals he monitors his animals to see the one on heat. Upon realization of animals on heat he makes sure that in the morning when others leave, the cow on heat remains behind with the bull so it can serve it. He also said that quality breed is also being able to know the genetics of your herd. These calls for proper management of your herd especially by farmers in the communal areas to make sure that their animals are not served by stray bulls adding that currently he is using sugarline genetics.
To avoid his animals being served by stray bulls, he always makes sure that he provides licks for his animals because by so doing the animals return back to the kraals well in time. Meanwhile Tshiamo said that different people have commended him on his production as they acknowledged his hard work and dedication especially that he is a youth. He also told Farmer’s Magazine Botswana that it is for this reason that his animals give him good returns as people show support and interest as they buy from him and they sometimes place orders well in time so that he can sell them calves after his animals have given birth.
He currently has about 40 females, adding that some of them are pure Brahmans. He added that he has some females that he has inseminated with straws from the US. Tshiamo argued that he also wants to have his own Artificial Insemination (AI) structure so that he can inseminate females which he will prefer to use a different straw on. He said that he is aiming to have 50 female stud Brahmans.
Tshiamo however, like others in the farming community is not immune to challenges. He said that he experienced tough times between the years of 2013 and 2016 in which the country was hit by drought. The drought demanded a lot from him as he had to buy feeds for his animals. This he said he did with his own money. He however, acknowledged his father for the way he raised him up. He said that his father taught him perseverance. He added that the drought season demanded a lot from him but because of his passion and dedication he did not relent. The other thing that kept him going at the time he said it was the interest shown by people on his animals.
He however, acknowledged that there were some people who saw him as a fool at the time. He said that most of the times it is easy to give up on farming as it a demanding activity and that takes time to give returns.
Meanwhile Tshiamo said that his younger brother Tlamelo Sekobye joined him in 2013. He said that his younger brother approached him and asked to temporarily farm with him, but him doing the Simmental. Tlamelo’s animals currently stand at a total of 11 Simmental heifers and a bull. FMB