Attitude goes a long way!
In 2014, Nkanyiso Ngubane with her partner Nothando Shangase and others started Dukathole Youth Farm, where they cultivate vegetables such as cucumbers, baby marrows, cauliflower, and green beans. The Dukathole farm is five hectares, but only two hectares of that is arable land.
Dukathole Youth Farm has 10 hydroponic tunnels, which are used to plant cucumbers and baby marrows. “We are forced to plant only during the summer since we experience heavy frost during winter and we get better yield results in summer. Nkanyiso and her team start planting in mid-August every year and start harvesting late in October.
“For the open field, we plant cauliflower in March and green beans in October. For land preparation, we are lucky to receive assistance from neighbouring farmers.”
As a daily routine, tanks need to be filled with water, fertilizer needs to be mixed and the nutrients need to be balanced by getting the E.C and pH right, and water drippers are checked for blockages.
Dukathole Youth Farm currently has five employees.
“It made sense for me to become a farmer and be self-employed rather than waiting for employment to come my way, especially when South Africa has such a high unemployment rate. I can also put my degree in Agriculture to use when it comes to the business aspect.”
Nothando enjoys the scientific journey of observing a seed turn into a plant and then into a meal to feed a family and that in turn transforms into a fortune.
“Many people seem to believe that running a farm means that making a lot of money and is the easiest business to run. They forget about the science of the industry like balancing the nutrients, providing sufficient irrigation etc. They seem to have an idea that with land I have it all. They do not consider the daily challenges and risks that come with running a farm.
Nkanyiso is part of the 2019 SAB Urban Agriculture Programme, and looks forward to “learning about production maximization and how to improve their hydroponic tunnel production procedures.”
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 and sustainable businesses.
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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