Parkies’ maize production in Dordrecht

Thokozile Parkies, owner of the Vlaakfontein farm in Dordrecht, is urging black farmers to expand their food production activities in order to earn a living.

Farmer Thokozile Parkies.

Despite the difficulties she faces on a daily basis, Parkies says she is determined to continue her work of growing maize.

When Entsimini arrived at the farm, they were busy loading a 32-ton truck with corn.

“I want to encourage our farmers not to be discouraged by the problems they face in their work, but to keep trying every day to succeed,” said Parkies.

She retired from teaching in Sedibeng, Gauteng, and began farming vigorously on a farm of more than 900 hectares.

“The love of crop farming was created by the way I grew up at home. Growing up in a household that grew all vegetables, I believe that made me love farming,” she said.

She was able to employ two full-time workers in her maize farming business, while others assisted during weeding and harvesting.

One of the things that encouraged Parkies in her work was the assistance of the Eastern Cape government. According to her, the Dordrecht region is plagued by cold, strong winds, and scorching sun. Parkies acquired the farm in 2015 after bringing in a few sheep with her late husband.

“Plant diseases are still a challenge for us right now, but they will not deter us from continuing our work,” said Parkies.

Thokozile Parkies acquired this farm with a 30-year contract to produce food.

“We also have cows, sheep, and we grow vegetables, but we are now focusing on maize production based on government advice,” she said. Her maize has been harmed by excessive rain, which has resulted in excessive moisture.

Mziwoxolo Majikijela, a senior official at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Joe Gqabi region, explained in detail.

“As a department, we have different programs to help farmers, and this is one of the farms available under the programs; we buy a farm and loan it to a farmer like Parkies,” said Majikijela.

Parkies was given tractors, farming tools, and harvesting equipment in addition to land to work on.

“Previously, we had a program to give land to farmers, but it was not successful, so we decided that the farmer should be given a loan for a limited time for a farm that produces food and creates job opportunities for other people,” Majikijela explained.

Farmers who acquire these farms do so with the understanding that the farm will be owned by the government for the next 30 years.

Farmers who have obtained farms must remain on the farm and perform farm work on a daily basis. Women, military veterans, and other disadvantaged groups are now given priority in the program.