While most young people dream of sitting in their own air-conditioned office and climbing the corporate ladder, Byron Booysen dreams of ploughing the soil on his own farms. As a successful farmer in his own right, he is well on his way to achieving that dream.
Born and raised in East London (Eastern Cape), Byron is the owner of the Booysen Tunnel Farming Project, which is situated on the Kraaifontein Avon-De-Rust farm where he rents one hectare of land from a retired farmer. He started the farm in December 2015, and by February 2016, the farm yielded 40 tons of tomatoes. He sells his produce to Pick ‘n Pay and all of the extra crops go to the Cape Town local market. However, before he started his farm, he first went to Stellenbosch University to obtain a degree.
During his time at Stellenbosch University, the overly active Byron was involved in many student activities, organisations and committees, where his focus was mainly on helping people. He was a Helshoogte First Years Committee Member and belonged to the Helshoogte Social Committee and Helshoogte Media Committee. He played in the Maties Rugby U/19A and Maties Rugby U/20A teams. He was Class Representative and a Helshoogte Mens Residence House Committee Member. Byron also served on the SRC (Student Representative Council) as an Outreach Representative and as a House Committee member of Olympus PSO (Private Student Organisation).
Byron has achieved quite a few awards from Stellenbosch University, congratulating him on his hard work. He was awarded “Recognition of Exceptional Leadership through Community Interaction” by Maties Community Service and also received the “Rector’s Award for Excellent Achievement in Community Interaction” in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, he was awarded “Recognition for 199 Volunteer Hours” by Maties Community Service and he was an Assistant Coach in the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports World Games in the United Arab Emirates.
By the time Byron had left University, he had completed a B.A. Degree in Sport’s Science, an Honours Degree in Applied Ethics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. It was only after he had completed his Masters that he started to focus on achieving his dream.
In 2014, Byron’s dream was turned into reality when he applied to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture for funding to start his farm. He was over the moon when his application for funding was approved and with the help of the Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas (Casidra), he started with the operation of erecting four multi-span tunnels of 1000 plants. However, as shown by his activities at university, Byron also dreams of helping young people excel.
From his involvement in the SRC at Stellenbosch University, to the causes he backs, we can see that Byron is always eager to give back to the community. When it comes to helping eager, future-farmers he is no different. Byron is extremely passionate about not only creating farming opportunities for up and coming farmers, but also to create sustainable environments and create jobs in areas that need it the most. He wants to also start a Sport’s Academy on the farm, as it will expose youth to not only fitness, but farming too.
For Byron Booysen, the seed of farming was planted when he was just a little boy, and today he strives to make his dream of owning and running his own farm a reality. With his philanthropic attitude and determination, it won’t be long until Booysen achieves his dreams.