We are back for our 2nd series of Podcasts with years SAB Kickstart Finalists!
In contrast to last year where the finalists were dispersed across many different industries, this year everyone is a farmer and we are delighted here at eBizRadio to be able to interview them all. Here is the 2nd interview with Khutso Njenga…Enjoy!
Khutso Njenga became part of TechFarma in 2018, where he produces cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes in greenhouse tunnels. His farm is 24 hectares in size.
Khutso cultivates his produce using the hydroponic system – a method used to grow vegetables in a water based, nutrient rich solution. “Each tunnel is 300 square meters and has approximately 700 plants.”
A daily task for Khutso is to check the water for pH levels and plants for insects. “We check our water daily to make sure that our electrical conductivity (EC) and pH (potential of Hydrogen) levels are correct.”
On Wednesdays, Khutso and his team harvest 3,750 cucumbers and delivers them to the Fresh Produce Market in Tshwane.
“I became a farmer to create jobs for others, and to make sure people have access to fresh, nutritious, and affordable vegetables. This is also what I love about farming as I get to wake up every day and know that I produced good food for others.”
Khutso currently employs four permanent and two part-time staff.
One stereotype Khutso has come across is that “people assume that farming or to be a farmer is easy”.
Khutso is part of the 2019 SAB Urban Agriculture Programme, and hopes to gain an understanding of how to access the corporate market.
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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