Inga Qeja: Land, water and roads are needed

The land where Inga Qeja cultivates in Tsolo. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Inga Qeja is a vegetable farmer and the owner of Bhayi Holdings in Mbokothwana, Tsolo.

Being a young commercial farmer, Qeja is one of the young farmers who is very committed to his business. “We now have two hectares of land, although when we started three years ago, we only used one hectare,” said Qeja.

He claimed that they are cultivating in the hopes of acquiring 20 hectares of land this year, which would enable them to grow their farming business.

“I would like to collaborate with Potatoes SA and Ukhanyo Farmers Development so that I can grow maize as well,” added Qeja.

Qeja grows spinach, cabbage, and butternut, as well as farming sheep and pigs.

“Crop and livestock farming is like a calling to me; I was held back by fear of starting since I did not want to start something that would fail,” Qeja explained.

Qeja is one of the young farmers who have been nominated for the Eastern Cape Hustlers Awards, which are intended to support those who attained success by persevering and working hard.

The different places where Qeja grew up are just one of the many variables that have affected his love of farming.

“Seeing farms in Kokstad, Xopo, and Richmond when traveling between the Eastern Cape and KZN Province served as a major source of inspiration for me,” he said.

He stated that he has long been curious about the use of land in Tsolo villages for food cultivation.

“There is a farm on the Mkhomazi river that is always green, and that is one of the things that motivated me to love farming,” Qeja remarked.

Qeja began working in 2020 producing chickens, but he was unable to continue because of the lack of assistance for chicken feed.

“My advice to anyone who says they enjoy crop and livestock farming is to start early; you’ll learn some things as you go,” Qeja said.

He began farming on land owned by his family.

“One of the most crucial things to consider when starting a farm is having enough land, water, and a good road,” Qeja recommended.

Indeed, a lot of young farmers need land to establish their businesses; some of them obtain temporary land through loans or jobs.

“When you work in an area with no roads, you have the difficulty of not being able to send your products to customers when it rains; this is one of the challenges that need immediate attention,” Qeja emphasised.

Qeja’s products are available at Spar, Boxer, and various independent shops in Qumbu and Tsolo.

The growth in the number of young farmers raises the prospect of increased food production in the Eastern Cape and South Africa. Lower food prices in stores may be the outcome of the work of farmers like Qeja.

Qeja discussed his farming experiences with Kwanda Nyazeka of Agriculture and Young fame.

PICTURES: Young farmer Inga Qeja with his produce and the people he works with. (SUPPLIED).