Another recognition step for the Reserve Force’s Project Koba-Tlala comes from North West, the province where its pilot was launched.
Tina Tseladimitloa, better known as “Mama Tina” in her community outside Potchefstroom, is registering on the Department of Defence (DoD) procurement system with the assistance of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Holder. Once this is complete she will be able to sell her fresh produce to commercialised military messes in and around Potchefstroom, seen as North West’s provincial military capital.
Tseladimitloa is no newcomer to agriculture, having been born on a farm in the Ventersdorp area. Following a comprehensive education, including matric and three degrees, one an honours in Setswana, her first foray into business, alongside community aid, was a recycling project. Launched in 2002 this saw a six-member co-operative collect and recycle 25 tons of material a month.
From here her formative years on a farm came to the fore and Tseladimitloa turned her hand on a smallholding in Potchefstroom’s Vyfhoek area. Tomatoes, vegetables and poultry were the backbone of her first venture into commercial agriculture. Her efforts were noticed when she was named provincial Female Farmer of the Year and three years later she earned her second award – a third in the crop farmer of the year category.
2012 saw her relocate to Wilgevonden, 20 km from Potchefstroom, with farming operations centred around cattle with 100 cows and a pair of bulls. Vegetable cultivation is the second arrow in her agricultural quiver covering costs.
She is an active member of and participant in the local Koba-Tlala co-operative and looks forward to being officially able to offer fresh produce to men and women in uniform on military bases in Potchefstroom. Street vendors find her a regular supplier of fresh produce at prices better than commercial farmers want and her produce is bought and consumed daily on the streets by workers from all walks of life.
“Her positive attitude, endurance and will power make her a good example for others,” said Holder.