In 2018, Amanda Mpabanga became part of Mabogo Dinku Agricultural Cooperative, an urban farm where she grows vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, spring onions, and green beans. Amanda’s farm is 37.2 hectares, but 26.9 hectares of that is arable land.
Mabogo Dinku Agricultural Cooperative currently has six tunnels with a size of 250 square meters each. “We supply spinach and spring onion to FoodLovers in Greenstone and only spring onion to Pick n Pay in Brits.”
Amanda believes in Sustainable Development. “I have always been a vegetable gardener, but in a very limited space. I then decided to become a farmer to supply my family and others with fresh vegetables and make a living out of it as well.”
Amanda currently employs seven people and hopes to employ more as the business grows.
“I love the process of growing food from seed to consumable product. The science of seed sprouting, germinating and becoming a product to be consumed is what excites me about urban farming.”
“People believe that I am rich, which is one of the stereotypes about being a farmer. This is not the case, as the business has expenses to be paid on a regular basis.” Also, people think that being a farmer means wearing overalls and gumboots. “I often get people asking me “You a farmer?” when I introduce myself because I look different to what they think farmers are supposed to look like.”
Amanda is part of the 2019 SAB Urban Agriculture Programme, where she hopes to learn how to be consistent in supplying good quality produce and to build a strong rapport with her customers.
Now in its second year, the Urban Agriculture programme invests in high potential farming businesses, by integrating technology solutions that will grow the businesses and create lasting employment.
The 15-month business development programme provides participants with technical and operational training, hydroponic infrastructure investment, industry-based mentorship, as well as market access.
Some info on SAB Kickstart
Powered by SAB’s flagship youth entrepreneurship programme, SAB KickStart, the Urban Agriculture programme, which aims to identify and invest hydroponic technology into high potential farming businesses, has announced nine finalists who will receive training and investment to grow their farming businesses.
With Stats SA in October revealing that unemployment was at its highest level in 11 years, the programme aims to help create jobs through youth owned farms. Black African women are the most vulnerable, facing an unemployment rate of 34.5%, compared to black men with an unemployment rate of 31.3%. “We are happy that five out of the nine finalists are young black women,” said Phumzile Chifunyise, Enterprise Development Manager, SAB and AB InBev Africa.
An Enterprise Development programme, SAB KickStart is aimed at youth entrepreneurs aged 18 and 35. The programme has been running since 1995 to develop, invest, and grow revenue generating youth businesses in order to create jobs. Now in its second year, the Urban Agriculture programme invests in high potential farming businesses, by advancing farming businesses with technology that will grow the businesses and create lasting employment.
“As an organisation that is imbedded in agriculture, our intention is
to attract young people to the sector by alleviating the high barriers
to entry such as technical and operational resources.”
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