My journey back to the land

Manyano Rasmeni looking after his crop. My journey back to the land.
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A decision he took in 2012 has Manyano Rasmeni living his best life yet.

After leaving his corporate marketing  job at one of South Africa’s biggest media companies six years ago, Rasmeni, 34, moved back home to help out on his parent’s farm in Frankfort, outside Bhisho.

He has never looked back. “I have been in agriculture since January 2012, and it’s been one amazing journey.”

After cutting his teeth on the family farming business, he has recently branched out to pursue organic farming.

He is running this project on a piece of land in East London. The initiative came through a partnership with Belinda Ross.

Rasmeni is tending to a hectare sized plot where he is growing forty free range chickens,  fifty fruit trees and vegetables  – broad bean, spinach and cabbages on his phase 1 crop section.

His plot also has two dams supplying it with water.

Rasmeni says this project has been established to show how one can sustain a healthy living from a hectare of land. “Everybody is on a quest to try and attain land, but if more than 1 million people are looking for land, and they are all looking for ten hectares, then there won’t be any land left to do anything.”

He says his current project is devised to show people how a small plot can produce many products.

“I am trying to illustrate how you can be sustainable and profitable on one hectare of land using minimal resources.”

Rasmeni enjoys taking care of his land:


New opportunities for growth

Having worked on this plot for three months, his partners have agreed to give him more land as he has shown how productive and capable he is.

“I have recently acquired two more pieces of land, the first piece of land is about seven hectares on the neighbouring farm from where I am currently doing my project. We have reached an agreement of how I can purchase and own the land.”

The department of agriculture in the Eastern Cape has also agreed to lease to Rasmeni six hectares, where he is looking at focusing on chicken farming, expecting to produce about 400 eggs a day.

He is also looking at growing free range pigs on the other newly acquired farm.

Rasmeni says his latest opportunity to instil agricultural training to children at his former school is one of his highlights.

He says he wants to make sure that the next generation get exposure to agriculture in the early stages of life.

“I have just been commissioned to do an organic garden at a local primary school. We are also trying to instil the seed of agriculture into the kids from a young age from grade one up to grade seven.  The aim is to plant the seed early in life. I was only exposed to agriculture at the age of 23.”

Land ownership for Africans has become a talking point in South African politics lately, with Parliament currently holding public hearings on a proposed amendment to section 25 of the Constitution. The called for amendment, if implemented, will be expected to speed up government’s land redistribution program.

This week President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as ANC president, said the ruling party has resolved to push ahead with expropriation of land without compensation through parliament.


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