City of Tshwane initiative helps poultry farmers

Food security, social wellbeing and employment among benefits reaped

Calvin Mutsileng, 34 manager at Ezemvello Poultry Farm in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
Calvin Mutsileng, 34 manager at Ezemvello Poultry Farm in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
Image: Keletso Mkhwanazi

Bopape Poultry founder Taphlos Moeketsi Bopape, 44, will double his chick produce, thanks to a City of Tshwane initiative aimed at supporting farmers.

Bopape has been running the poultry business with his wife and sons since 2013.

“We started the business due to the unavailability of employment and in order for our family to survive and also empower people around our area,” said Bopape.

The city’s department of environment and agriculture management and national department of agriculture, land reform and rural development had distributed 30,000 broiler chickens to farmers in Winterveldtand Bopape had joined the initiative on the recommendation of a former colleague.

“This initiative is a game-changer for small producers as production input costs and access to markets have always been a challenge,” he said.

He said young people should consider taking up farming as a career as there are many government programmes to assist the youth and women to start production and therefore contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of their communities.

“We employ two people on a casual basis and two on a permanent basis.We produce 1,200 chicks per cycle of six weeks. The Tshwane initiative will allow us to increase our capacity by a further 1,200 ,” said Bopape. 

Ezemvello Poultry Farm, which started operating three years ago, also benefitted from the initiative.

Calvin Mutsileng, 34, from Centurion said: “The city’s initiative has already given the business a huge boost. We are now able to improve aspects we couldn’t before.

Taphlos Moeketsi Bopape,44 Founder of Bopape Poultry farm in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
Taphlos Moeketsi Bopape,44 Founder of Bopape Poultry farm in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
Image: Keletso Mkhwanazi

“We have five permanent employees and two casual employees. We have received 5,000 broiler chicks. Before the department came on board, we had about 2,000 chickens per cycle.”

But Motsileng said despite the boost from the initiative, he was still encountering a number of challenges he had encountered at the conception stage of his business.

“It is [still] difficult to get good and loyal employees,” he said. “Once you get them they're also difficult to keep. Theft can also be a huge problem from either employees or thieves from the community. Load-shedding is also proving to be the biggest threat to the business because in winter you have to spend more trying to provide heat for day-old-chicks.”

But he had learnt a lot from the initiative, he said.

“The training was about basic poultry production and we were taught about ventilation, feed management, bio-security, litter-collection, chick handling management, vaccination techniques, water and sanitation and access to the market,” said Motsileng.

MMC for agriculture management Alderman Katlego Mathebe said the initiative

was intended to kickstart the rural economic transformation in identified regions across the country.

“The aim of this unit is to introduce farmers to mechanisation and extension support, training, logistics and primary produce collections and marketing intelligence too,” said Mathebe.

City of Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said farmers to take part in the initiative were identified by the Farmer Production Support Unit (FPSU).

He said for farmers to qualify to be part of this initiative, they had to complete the registration process as beginners.

“Farmers should be in possession of relevant commodity (broilers) within a 30km radius of Winterveldt,” said Mashigo, adding that the initiative was a once-off.

“It serves as a push to accelerate production and support the Winterveldt abattoir. The same initiative will take place with layers producers in the future,” said Mashigo.

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