Wilson Giel swaps construction boots for farming gear

  • 03 Augustus 2020
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Venturing into farming
Wilson Giel was born on a farm. His parents were farmworkers and he used to watch them working in the fields throughout his childhood. Wilson is a beneficiary of the government’s farm leasing programme. His passion for farming grew from the fact that farming is all he has ever known and understood. Through all other employment opportunities, he has ventured into, he has always known that his love for farming was the thing he wanted to explore the most. “Even when I was working as a civil engineer at construction sites, I was always focused on making the most of my farming business. I farmed on the side while working until eventually I had the courage to take the leap.” Wilson eventually solely made the decision to concentrate on his farming in 2016.

Senwes
It is through Senwes Agricultural Services Manager Julias Ramohlabi that Giel came to know about and eventually developed a relationship with Senwes. He marvels at the change being a Senwes client has done for his business. He believes he would not have planted on as much land before Senwes “adopted” him. He met Julias through agriculture caucuses that were hosted by the Department of Agriculture, engaging farmers and different stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

There he witnessed Julias make presentations about the services that Senwes offers and expressed his interest. Since then, he has been paired with a mentor who he says has played an advisory role in helping him realise many things that he did not know. He trusts that their relationship will prove fruitful as he now has someone to guide him through the challenges that he faces in his business operations.

Challenges
Wilson talks at length about the many challenges that come with being a young farmer. He notes that this is a business that requires a lot of discipline, He urges other upcoming farmers like him, who are young and impressionable, to make sure early on that they get their focus right before all else. “there are so many distractions that can veer you off track when you are a young person in business. There is so much in life that seems more fun and much easier to do, when you pursue farming.

You have to be willing to put all that on the back burner and give your business everything. That is the only way you succeed.” He mentions financial struggles as another factor that hinders success of many developing farmers. There is a very real struggle to attain mechanisation equipment amongst developing farmers and that ends up in many losses for them in their business.

Future
Wilson says that his relationship with Senwes has breathed new life into his business. He believes that through his relationship with Julias Ramohlabi, his business will grow to new heights and surpass his current successes.