For almost two years, larger than life radio personality and entrepreneur, Comfort Ramatebele aka Big Fish has raved about his integrated farm in Kumakwane.
Hardly a day passes without a ‘Big Fish’ Facebook post marveling at the progress he has made since venturing into farming.
“The self-praise is simply meant to inspire the youth to see this new approach to food security and wealth creation. It takes dedication and hard work, but the rewards are plentiful,” Big Fish told Voice Money recently.
The Duma FM ‘Ghumba Fire’ presenter explained he became attracted to farming after the painful realization that being an employee offers no job security as one can be fired anytime.
It is something the radio star experienced first hand early last year following his unceremonious sacking from Gabz FM.
Currently, Big Fish’s animal farm boasts goats, sheep, cattle, horses, chickens, rabbits, and different types of dog breeds including Anatolian Shepherds, Boerbull, and German Shepherds.
He is also in the process of introducing horseback riding and has become a reliable supplier of mophane firewood.
The smooth-talking crooner noted that setting up an integrated farming project with up to five different kinds of animals like his will not cost over P100, 000.
He advised that instead of a one-off large sum expenditure, the cost can be broken down to P5, 000-a-month for two years to stock up on all the animals needed.
“I urge young people to start with a small chicken house in the backyard using pallets, one dog, a small cage, and three rabbits and one horse. Just put your head the body will follow.”
For Big Fish, farming is about more than just food security and wealth creation – it is a lifestyle that heals emotional complications.
“It extricated me from anger over a few job-related issues. A horseback ride, stroking a dog, milking a goat, these are very curative experiences. Critically, with this setup once the money starts coming in it is from multiple streams, varying from daily income from vegetables, large sums from selling batches of dogs, the left-over is fed to animals and their remains processed as fertilizer. A symbiotic relationship between both animals and plants,” he stated.
“Whilst you produce dogs for security to minimize loss of stock and vegetables to wild animals the upside is you also sell puppies for very good prices,” continued Big Fish, whose integrated farm caught the attention of Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, who paid a courtesy visit last Monday.
“I’d also like to commend National Development Bank for showing keen interest in the project and coming to assess and appreciate it. I’ve started viewing integrated farming as a philosophy of life,” he added.
Big Fish reserves special mention for the success of the farm to the woman in his life, Mary Pheko who he credits with giving him stability.
“A woman sees livestock as intensely as though it were a child and success in Agriculture is to keep livestock alive. That is what a woman gives, the farm becomes clean, and there’s precision in all that’s done on the farm, including the building of kraals.”
As immersed as he is in farming, Big Fish’s other obsession is his prized Toyota Land Cruiser, which he also credits for the success of his farm.
“I had the resources to carry stuff as feed to farms or tow cattle or horses that I had the opportunity to unintentionally benchmark. I am a farmer because I drive a Toyota Land Cruiser not the other way round,” he said, a not so subtle application for the company’s Brand Ambassador role.