Ambitious youths embark on cabbage farming to better their lives
Harvest is sold to local retail stores and community members
Faced with the stark realities of unemployment and poverty, a group of six young people from Ngqamakwe in the Eastern Cape took matters into their own hands.
United in their resolve to improve their circumstances, they approached their local chief for arable land in 2014, who granted them a five-hectare farm.
These ambitious youths later formalised their efforts by registering their venture as the Zimasa Youth Agriculture Primary Cooperative in 2018, focusing on cabbage farming to generate income and better their lives.
The chairperson of the cooperative Babalwa Koni ,35, vividly recalls the early days.
“When we decided to start farming, we were unemployed and desperate, it is a difficult situation to be in when you are unemployed as a young person.”
The farm has since helped them to better their lives. The cooperative plants 10,000 crops of cabbage per cycle and employs ten casual workers.
“The challenging stage is mostly when we have to start planting afresh, where we need to plant the cabbage, add manure and tilt the land. That is where we need more people to come and help us,” said Koni.
Their harvest is sold to local retail stores, community members and vendors.
To grow and expand its operations, the cooperative needed support and resources.
“We were advised by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development to apply for funding from the National Development Agency (NDA), a government agency that fights poverty and investigates its causes.
“We called the NDA and an official visited our farm to evaluate it and then we applied for funding assistance and it was approved,” Koni said.
The cooperative was funded by the NDA in 2021, to the tune of R 191,290, which they used to buy a solar-powered irrigation system, garden tools, fertiliser and to upgrade security on the farm.
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation provided solar equipment for the borehole, six water tanks and fencing.
The department also chipped in and provided mentorship and a generator.
“All of the support that we have received has helped me to feel fulfilled. I call on young women to rise and farm the land. Government funding is available,” advised Koni. –
This article was first published in the GCIS’s Vuk’uzenzele
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