South African farmer grows hydroponic cow feed in seven days

Mathoke Phaladi is a farmer who grows animal fodder hydroponically in just seven days, and the feed grows throughout the year. The young farmer and founder of Thari's Fodder was born and raised in Limpopo where he herded livestock from an early age, and later developed an interest in farming. 

As he grew older, Phaladi knew that he wanted to farm commercially but did not know what kind of farming he wanted to specialize in. Financial barriers to starting up didn't make it easy either. While looking for a window of opportunity to get into commercial framing, the entrepreneur stumbled upon Wouldn't It Be Cool (WIBC), a business incubator that mentors, supports, and funds upcoming small businesses in various sectors including hydroponic farming.

"In our country, the biggest crisis that I think livestock farmers face is the lack of rain. We've experienced drought in previous years. There's been a case where over 1,000 animals died from drought because they lacked food or high quality feed," he said.

It is this tragedy that motivated Phaladi to venture into planting animal fodder, "to help those farmers who are struggling to get high nutrition feed from green feed such as green grass," he added. "It only takes me seven days to grow, just seven days. That's how we're able to produce a huge amount of grass in a short period of time. We are able to produce 1,000 kilograms each day," said Phaladi proudly.

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