I’m a member of Pig Farmers South Africa, Facebook Group where I first discovered Bongi Nxumalo. I regard Bongi amongst the best Top 10 pig farmers in the group as he excels at the trade. Himself and others are setting trends and leading the way on producing quality pigs through following industry standards.
Bongi does not hoard knowledge but shares it freely to guide new pig farmers to improve their piggeries. It’s a privilege today he agreed to share his journey to farming with pigs for profit…enjoy.
Hello, please introduce yourself, your educational background and where you’re based?
My name is Bonginkosi Nxumalo, born in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. I do not have a formal agricultural qualification, I have a Bsc in Computer Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My farming operation is based in Devon (Gauteng).
What do you farm and why that choice of produce?
I am a pig farmer having established Green Pigs SA, I chose to farm in pigs because I care so much about pigs, besides the fact that I was born and raised in a farming community. I’m blessed with talent in agriculture that allows me to make a contribution to the world in a sustainable way for everyone and generations to come.
What inspired you to venture into farming for profit?
Opportunities within the pork producing value chain are endless, it allowed me to identify myself in the pig industry. It gave me an opportunity to do what I love while making profit at the same time.
How did you raise your startup capital?
Every cent spent of the farm was self-funded.
Talk to us about your farmland, what hurdles did you jump to access it?
I was one of the luckiest few in terms of land access, I was given an opportunity by my uncle Nkateko Mathebula to set up my pig operation on his farm all thanks to him. Have recently bought my own land in Bela-Bela where I am setting up and I will eventually move my operation there.
Please share any moment(s) where you were tempted to throw in the towel and close shop…
I learnt the hard way, there are important aspects of pig production which I did not consider when I started farming, like Genetics, Nutrition, Health and Environment. I just bought pigs and started feeding them. I must say, the money went straight into a black hole without ROI.
My conclusion was, “pig farming is not profitable”. I was at the final stage of quitting when I visited Mampe Mmeregi of Temaretha Piggery. I realized that her pigs were not the same as mine, I asked her every possible question about pigs, leaving her farm that afternoon I was fired up and armed with knowledge. I sold everything and started from scratch with quality pigs and implemented best practices on my piggery.
What has been the proudest moment in your farming journey?
My proudest moment was producing my first pig which weighed 114 kgs in 22 weeks.
What’s the constant motivation that fires up your belly to be productive each day?
I’m passionate about pigs and being able to raise them in a safe, productive environment with good animal welfare practices keeps me going.
What is your ultimate goal in farming?
My ultimate goal is to perfect my trade in the area of breeding stock production and be the first choice supplier to pig breeders.
What challenges do you continue facing today running a farm?
The cost of pig production continues to skyrocket, with the price of breeding stock, feed and medication at all time high.
What advice would you give to an aspirant farmer, still considering this career?
If you want to start pig farming for a quick profit, don’t start. It takes time, it requires patience and resilience and most importantly it requires constant learning.