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Young farmers' careers bloom after joining programme

Project supplies vendors with fruit, vegetables

Karabo Mukhuwa of Musina, Limpopo, thanks Shumela Hayani for changing her life after years of unemployment following her college studies.
Karabo Mukhuwa of Musina, Limpopo, thanks Shumela Hayani for changing her life after years of unemployment following her college studies.
Image: Supplied

Just two years ago, Karabo Mukhuwa had no idea what direction her life would take as she had been sitting at home without any employment prospects.  

Aged just 25 years at the time, Mukhuwa was struggling to put food on the table and feed her family and children. Her marketing qualification was gathering dust.  

Her life changed when she came across agricultural programme Shumela Hayani, which she says has helped her start her own farming business. 

“Life was so depressing for me before [I found] Shumela Hayani because I struggled to put food on the table because I was not fortunate enough to get a job after graduating in 2020,” said Mukhuwa. 

“Luckily, I stumbled upon this project and now I can go out there and learn about what the market wants and where our fresh produce is needed. I am putting my qualification to use because of Shumela while I also farm because they have taught me a lot.  

“I harvest spinach, cabbage, beetroot, onions, tomatoes and peppers. I aim to learn more and get a short course in agriculture as I go,” said Mukhuwa.  

Mukhuwa expresses that the biggest challenge when it comes to farming experience is the weather conditions.  

“I remember last year, there were heavy rains that just ruined all the vegetables. We had to start from scratch. It is very important that you understand that things won’t turn out the way you expect all the time. You must be willing to accept that as an agriculture person,” she said. 

Shumela Hayani is a farming project which seeks to empower women and people living with disabilities with agricultural skills in the farms of Musina in Limpopo. 

Johannesburg-based NPO, Modern Community Foundation, ascended to one of the forgotten villages to develop the agricultural programme which aims to see youngsters, women and people living with disabilities gaining farming skills and providing their local fruits and vegetables outlets and vendors with fresh and organic supplies. 

The agricultural development programme was established in 2022 and aims to create a fully self-sustainable farming operation. 

Shumela Hayani programme coordinator Annah Maphaha said the team in Musina has already built strong relations with local businesses to ensure the profitability of the initiative and job creation in Musina can improve.  

“The project has 70% women under the age of 25 and 90% black youth with disabilities. It has helped its beneficiaries to financially fend for themselves while consumers are also able to buy at cheaper rates. 

“The aim is to make sure that disadvantaged people can be able to fight poverty, sustain food security and empower others. Most NPOs lack funding, hence most of them end up crumbling,” said Maphaha. 

As the rate of unemployment stands at more than 30%, Maphaha hopes the programme will close the gap, one beneficiary at a time. 

“We hope that corporates can extend their hand, inject money into projects like this and the government can assist in funding. The funding can be through money, material or equipment and even the land for people to work. We also need more educational programmes about agriculture,” she said. 

Another Shumela Hayani beneficiary, Thabang Suluma, 31, has been interested in farming since he was a young boy. He said his childhood surroundings exposed him to the skill of farming. 

His grandmother had a small farm around his home and this brought out his natural talent and he decided to join Shumela Hayani to extend his hand and make a living for himself. 

“I would help my elders [in their small farms], so I am glad I can do it professionally because I am learning a lot. 

“When I was still in primary school as a naughty young boy, our punishment would be to plant seeds and take care of it and I used to enjoy this punishment so much. 

“Seeing myself plant something and being able to harvest it until it makes it to the local supermarkets is my greatest joy. We produce fresh foods and our people do not have to take time travelling to get veggies,” said Suluma.


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