Dairy, Agribusiness Consultant, Director

Tafi Manjala is a consultant with AgFirst Northland, joining the team in January 2016.

Tafi has over 18 years’ experience in the rural industry (11 years in Northland) in roles that include managing farms, extension, team leadership and banking, hence well positioned to deliver, evaluate and improve extension programmes, provide advice and support in planning, as well as implementation of whole farm system for performance to drive profitability, working in group
settings or one on one.


  • 2013 NZ Nuffield Scholar
  • BSc Agriculture Honours, University of Zimbabwe, 1997 – 2000
  • Diploma in Agriculture (1st Class pass), Chibero College Zimbabwe, 1993 – 1996
  • Diploma in Training Management (IPMZ) Zimbabwe, 2001

Key Skills

  • Strategic planning and business management
  • Environmental Management
  • Financial management – analysis, budgeting, cashflows, banking
  • Technical management – feed planning, regrassing, cropping programmes, reproduction improvement
  • Labour Management – recruitment and selection, contract negotiation, performance planning and people management
  • Communication skills – written reporting, coaching, group presentations and public speaking

Key Projects

  • Adoption strategy: Chairman 2009. Led a project team of 6 for half a year. Outcome was a strategy document which has been implemented on how to improve extension for DairyNZ.
  • Co-Chair of the progression groups tools development team of 7. This project led to over 35 groups established nationally in year one of roll out from June 2010.
  • Initiated a campaign at the start of the global financial crisis in 2008/09 ‘Tight Management for Tight Times’ 2008 – 2010. Components of the Plan developed adopted nationally.
  • Northland flood and drought team. Resources developed now used nationally.
  • Candy’s Focus Farm management team 2011 – 2014 Lifted production from 720 to 1,100 kgMS/ha, reduced farm costs by $1.40/kgMS from $5.10/kgMS leading to a profit of over $180,000. Delivered messages via field days, email updates and press (as a team).
  • ReproRock campaign manager 2010 – 2014 where over 60 businesses improved 6 week In-calf rates (4% better than regional average) through extension delivery.
  • New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management Council member 2010 – 2012
  • National Judge for Dairy Industry Awards 2008 – 2010 Farm Manager of the Year
  • National Judge for Ahuwhenua Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year 2012 and 2014


  • Nuffield Scholar 2013 : Research Project title: Good to Great Extension – Influencing on farm change at pace and scale http://www.nuffield.org.nz/reports/report-details/item/good-to-great-extension/
  • YouTube: presentation to Nuffield Australia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GwtgeI0KLA
  • Numerous articles in local and national press on dairy farming

Career History

Rural Bank Manager 2015 – 2016 Rabobank

  • Managed a $50 million portfolio of dairy and beef clients to achieve goals for client profitability, client satisfaction and credit quality.
  • Prepared and monitored budgets to ensure clients had adequate funding and kept within banking policy.
  • Writing project proposals for bank funding and monitoring implementation of plans.

Northland Regional Leader 2009 to 2014 (DairyNZ)
Upper North Island Regional Manager 2007 – 2009 (DairyNZ)
Consulting Officer Whangarei and West 2004 – 2007 (DairyNZ and formerly Dexcel)

  • Key function was to add value to the dairy industry by leading the Northland regional adoption of on-farm practices, extending the influence of DairyNZ through farmer networks within the region, successful partnering across the industry, strategic development an annual regional plan and effective leadership of a team of up to 7 through coaching.
  • Facilitated over 500 farmer events group discussions, field days including chairing major national forums and stakeholder meetings, facilitator for Northland Green to Gold business group.
  • Effective communication skills.  Regularly contributed to popular press including the Dairy Exporter, radio and farming weeklies.

Assistant Farm Manager (started as dairy assistant), Dairy Holdings – New Zealand, 2002 – May 2004

  • Absentee owner 780 cow dairy farm on 217 ha producing 280,000 kgMS under an all grass system. Performance was in the top 25% of the district on profit.
  • Responsible for pasture management to ensure match between feed supply and demand.

Scientific Officer, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics – Matopos, Zimbabwe (ICRISAT), 2000 to July 2002

  • Facilitated a lift in farm productivity by 10% in one season by providing financial, technical advice on: fertiliser, seed, crop protection, demonstration plots and training extension staff.
  • Used APSIM simulation analysis to support on-farm research leading farmers to a better understanding of how to identify opportunities and minimise risks.

Farm Manager, Eben Dam Farm, Shamva, Zimbabwe 1997 – 2000 (started as Project Advisor)

  • Managed the farm for absentee owner growing tobacco, paprika, poultry and maize.