Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Moapare: trading the microphone for a hoe

Clad in a polo shirt, Jeep jacket with a pair of jeans tucked into gumboots, Peter Moapare, a former radio presenter turned farmer, strolled towards a farm gate located at Ramotswa station.

With sweat running from his face underneath a cowboy hat, the young farming enthusiast looked tired.

“I was trying to put out a fire. Everything has not gone according to plan today. I woke up late when I was supposed to be here around 5 0’clock in the morning. After I had finished with watering my plants, I collected some garbage that I burnt in a drum for disposal. Unfortunately, there was a plastic inside the garbage which melted and fire spread on the farm,” said Moapare.

With his two assistants armed with thorny tree branches, they had to go all out to put the fire out. At last, Moapare was happy that he was able to put out the fire that had broken out a few metres away from the piggery and poultry.

Moapare, known as “Petermo” during his radio days, traded his talent at private radio stations, such as Gabzfm, Yaronafm and DumaFm, for farming.

Moapare, who runs a horticulture project, says farming has been part of his life.
“I was born into farming. I am a farmer’s child. Both my parents retired and went into farming. I am here because farming needed me to be here,” he said. “Farming is different from radio, which is more about a creative world and is a talent-based industry. Farming requires experience to stay ahead.”
Without experience, he says, the journey is bumpy. He said that horticulture needs more attention because the seedlings should be produced well and should perform well in order to have a good yield.
He advised that a relevant experience is needed when operating on commercial scale. The young farmer is happy to be one of the people who have come to the fore in trying to feed the nation.

“Imagine our import bill remains at P20 billion. We rely on South Africa. I am optimistic that if we participate in large numbers, we will be able to reduce the import bill,” said Moapare.
He is happy that he has taken the route to farming while still in his twenties.

“It is the best time for me because many young folks feel like they are in a comfort zone when they are working. I think the government is also trying to get them to the podium with some programmes in place. We should understand and take it seriously,” he said.

Moapare grows spinach, beetroots, cabbage and other products on his parents’ farm located at Ramotswa station.

He noted that without commitment and hands on, the success in agriculture industry becomes a dream that will never be accomplished.

He emphasized that most of the work on the farm starts early in the morning.
“Today’s farming is not like the yesteryear farming; it’s more complex, with improved technology, such as irrigation.”

With the assistance of the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), who are his mentors, he is able to learn more about the new developments in horticulture.

Moapare, who financed himself to start a horticulture project, is hoping to seek financial assistance to grow his business.

The former radio presenter also wants to start a plant production and Agri ÔÇôTourism component on his family farm. He pointed out that farming needs someone who is hands on.
He said that once the production plant is completed, he will be able to supply the local market that heavily relies on the South African market.

The plant production, which is in its infancy stages, has different plants and tree species currently under production.

Moapare explains that most of the trees that are in the plant production were produced through cutting stems of trees and planting them. He hopes that once the plant production is in full swing, he will be able to sell shade trees, fruit trees and other plant species.

He also aspires to introduce Agri-Tourism component, which will form part of the activities on the farm. According to him the Agri-Tourism component will be more like cultural exchange programs.
“Tourists will be able to visit the farm and participate in activities related to the tswana or yesteryear farming. Many people are also eager to be involved in the project as part of reviving their culture,” he added.

When quizzed on whether he does not miss the hype of radio, Moapare noted that he was happy where he was.

He stated that the business that he runs occupies almost all his time. “Since I have grown up as a family oriented someone I only share my time with my family. I also want to have my own family because I am growing old now,” he said.

He is happy that he leant more during his radio career when he started midmorning show on Gabzfm after completing Cambridge exams. Moapare stated that though he fell in love with radio, his interests were initially in television.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.