“A man cannot just wake up and say, ‘today I am going to farm.’ It must be in your blood, in your veins,” says Thomas “Tommy” Skietekat, a grain farmer for For Farmer South on the importance of having passion as a farmer. “I was born to farm, I like it,” he continues.

Tommy is one of many South African men who are on the frontlines of food production in this country. Most know that the food we devour every day is the result of thousands of committed farm workers, but have you ever thought what the food production process looks like? Perhaps not? 

Most small-scale farmers like Tommy start out very small. They have a couple of acres of land and a few crops. Soon they realise that bigger land, and more man-power, are needed to help them become part of the greater supply chain.

To that end, the Tiger Brands Agriculture Aggregator model has been instrumental in enabling small-scale farmers to form part of their supply chain, thereby transforming the local agricultural sector. 

Tiger Brands, one of Africa’s largest food manufacturers, is the first to admit that the high tonnage delivery requirements has, in the past, made it difficult for small-scale farmers to form part of their supply chain.

“Farming is hard work and the input costs are what kill us. You must have money to plant,” reiterates Tommy on the struggles of being a farmer. Luckily, for Tommy and his team, Tiger Brands came in and provided the input costs, the fertilizer and the seeds. The aggregator models steams up black small-scale farmers into collectives so they are able to meet the capacity and the quality requirements of Tiger Brands. For Farmers is a result of that model and they are a combination of wheat and oat farmers from the Western Cape.

Additionally, the company provides them with agrarian and agricultural support, business development support and input finance to ensure their commercial success. “I am going to do the harvesting. Tiger Brands will do the marketing,” says Tommy, echoing the team spirit that is at the core of this partnership. Through the Tiger Brands Agriculture Aggregator model, Tommy is not only doing the work he loves, but also ensuring economic development and food security for all South Africans.

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