Easy Farm is a citrus and banana farm on the Southern slopes of the Soutpansberg near Thohoyandou in Northern Limpopo, in an area where there are few other commercial farms. Israel Nemaorani, an agricultural pioneer, started farming here in 1990, receiving his title deed in 1994. 202ha in size, Easy Farm today has 115ha of citrus (mostly Valencias) and 60-70ha of bananas. There is also 40ha of fallow ground, and under normal circumstances, the farm would have enough water from the Mwedi River to develop this land. Currently, the farm is run by Israel and his son Lavhengwa.
“One of the biggest challenges we are currently facing is the effects of the severe drought affecting our area. In addition to my citrus orchards, I also produce bananas, as well as mangoes that I sell to Westfalia at Duiwelskloof for drying. Besides the fruit production, I also have a herd of cattle and 200 pigs. The drought has been very hard on my cattle.”
Israel progressed from growing vegetables to fruit production and has been able to increase his production and export more of his fruit over the past few years. Due to the success of his farming business, he was approached by the CGA, and as a result became a board member, serving on the CGA board for nearly 10 years. Israel remains the only citrus farmer in his immediate area.
“In 2013, the Department of Agriculture sponsored the construction of a new packhouse adjacent to my existing one. I am very grateful to them for this. My current packing machinery is, unfortunately, a little small for my needs. If this was bigger, I could pack my own fruit as well as pack fruit for some of the other growers in the area.”
“One of the biggest problems we have here is theft and this is preventing me from expanding my production. I need to put up an electric fence as the thieves just cut holes in the ordinary fence. The increasing cost of transport for our fruit has a significant effect on its profitability. It is around 800km from here to the Port of Durban. To transport a truckload of our fruit over this distance now costs around R20 000. The quality of the roads in our area are also a challenge, and we have to fetch our pallets from Tzaneen (1 ½ hour’s drive away). The cost of electricity is also making inroads into our profitability.”
“The advantage of being as far north as we are is that our fruit ripens a few days earlier than in the production areas around Tzaneen. Our navel harvest starts at the end of March.”
“My advice to young people would be to consider agriculture as a career. There is definitely a future in agriculture but one of the biggest challenges to farming is accessing the necessary start-up capital. You must be patient and have a supplementary income to support you while you establish your farm, as farming, particularly fruit production, is a long term business. Farming is not for lazy people. Farming is a calling. You must be passionate about farming if you want to be successful.”
“I want to thank the Department of Agriculture for their assistance. Thanks also to the CGA and CRI for their advice and assistance over the years. The exposure that I received locally and internationally through the CGA has been invaluable to the development of my business in all spheres, both production, and marketing.
“I also want to extend good wishes and good luck to the current and future board members of CGA. Please continue with the good work you do on behalf of our industry and all our growers.”
“I am 69 years old and have been farming for 25 years. I am preparing for retirement and am slowing down my involvement and gradually handing the responsibility to my son Lavhengwa.”
From left to right: Meme and Lavengwa Nemaorani
“My wife and I love living here and I love the farming lifestyle. After working in the city, coming back here to my childhood home was truly a homecoming. I look forward to retiring and seeing my son continuing with the farm.”