Friday, 21 August 2015

Luyengo Farm: better than ever!

The new fine seed planter

Walking over the fields of Luyengo Farm today it’s hard to imagine what it looked like during the devastating hailstorms of December 2014. Hail in Swaziland comes in a range of sizes from frozen pea to golf ball. Pockmarked cars are a common sight. The hail damaged mature cabbages and killed seedlings. It separated the tops from carrots and beetroot. It left mud that overflowed the tops of wellies. As well as destroying the crops in the field it made planting impossible and so affected the farm for several months.

Carrots ready for delivery

Today the farm looks magnificent. 8 hectares are under vegetables - soon to rise to 12. Early in the morning it is a hive of activity - picking in the fields, washing vegetables and packing in a variety of sizes and quantities, including microwave-ready packs, loading the truck, the tata and trailer and even Tiekie’s car to get the orders out. The staff are busy and happy, supervised by Adolf, the new foreman, Vuzile who’s in charge of the pack shed, Nomcebo who looks after orders and admin, and standing in the centre Tiekie, directing operations.

Luyengo Farm pork chops
Tiekie's beetroot & carrot washer

With recent investment in new machinery, including a fine seed planter, and the farm achieving ever higher yields, the future looks bright. Plans are afoot to increase the piggery to 30 sows later this year - the current pigs can’t eat all the vegetable waste produced.

Cabbages on Luyengo Farm
Just today we heard that the carrot washer, sponsored by Limerick Diocese and built by students John and Brenda from Tralee IT, has left Durban by train and will arrive in Swaziland over the weekend. Unloading is scheduled for Monday afternoon - photos will follow!