Dr Vusi Khosa does more than just saves lives at not one, but two hospitals in South Africa’s Limpopo province. He also has three farms where he does his bit to keep the country fed and healthy.
Speaking to Food For Mzansi, Khosa says he harvests approximately five tonnes of tomatoes per week. When he is not hard at work on the land, you can find him giving his patients the utmost care at Sekororo Hospital near Tzaneen. This does not spell the end of his medical duties, however. He also works as a stand-in doctor at the Netcare Pholoso Hospital in Polokwane.
“Follow your passion, put in the work and be willing to learn,” says Khosa. “You can’t learn everything in one day, so you need patience. Its challenging juggling life as a doctor and farmer. When I am not on the farm, I miss it.”
Managing three farms
He does admit that it can be challenging minding and managing three farms simultaneously.
All three farms trade under the same name, Khoseni Group Holdings. The biggest is 10 hectares large, and produces green peppers and hot peppers in addition to tomatoes. This particular farm was owned by his father, and was also Khosa’s introduction to farming.
His second farm is 6.8 hectares large, and here he grows tomatoes and various varieties of hot peppers. Approximately 3.8 hectares of this farm is not in use, Khosa says, but he has plans to begin doing so soon. His smallest farm is 2.5 hectares large, and here he grows morogo, green peppers, okra and sometimes tomatoes. This is also the farm that is closest to his familial home, and it has four boreholes in the backyard.
He has 65 employees who work for him each day and they are a crucial part of farming up to 2 000 tonnes of tomatoes annually.
Learning from his father
Like his son, Khosa’s father also worked in another industry. He remembers being awakened by his father at 5.00 in the morning to tend to the maize fields as a child. They would spend the entire day on the fields and only return home at 17.00 in the evening.
For years, his father was a truck driver, but had to retire early as he developed problems with his legs. When he was home, he dedicated more time to the farm.
“When you are still young, you want to socialise with your friends and have fun. Imagine spending all your free time on the farm, whereas I was meant to be chilling with my friends and playing soccer.”
Khosa studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand and was financed through sponsorships. While he doesn’t consider himself to have been a “clever kid” at school, he was proficient in science and mathematics.
“My dad used to be a very proud man, but smart too. He could mainly teach us to work harder than ordinary to make it. Medicine is just hard work; if you never read it, you will never know it.”
He really took to farming in 2016, upon his father’s passing. He took over the land and he has gradually expanded the business.
“Its still important that I go to the farms myself because if I ask my workers how things are on the farm, they may only tell me the good. As a farmer, I need to check on things myself as well.”
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