Protest gives rise to farming foundation

2019-06-12 06:00
Bahle Zondo. photo: SUPPLIED

Bahle Zondo. photo: SUPPLIED

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GIVING back to the community has been Bahle Zondo’s dream from an early age.

Growing up in a rural area with a poor educational background motivated him to forage further and look for a career in the farming sector.

Zondo is the founder and chairperson of the Bahle Zondo Foundation. Through the foundation, his aim is to invest in high-tech agriculture solutions that will benefit local women-managed farming cooperatives.

Zondo’s main objective is to empower emerging farmers and achieve food security in Africa.

“I come from Ward 1 in Msinga Municipality, from the area called Mkhuzeni Elenge under Inkosi[chief] Majozi.

“I’m a commercial pilot, flying fixed wings and helicopters, and a qualified actuary.

“Crop and livestock farming has always been the [community’s] means of survival growing up and now I strongly believe the saying ‘no farmer no nation’. As a result, I want to make it [farming] fashionable and change the mindset of our young people,” Zondo said.

The project was started as a result of 50 women who were protesting for two job opportunities at a local school.

Zondo said: “The women were pleading for more job opportunities within the school’s feeding scheme. It was impossible for all these women to be employed by the school.”

“I decided then to engage them and come up with better solutions to fight unemployment,” said Zondo.

“The Bahle Zondo Foundation was formed as a vehicle to register co-operatives and assist with funding and skills development.

“The Amahle Benefits Scheme is the sole funder of the projects for now; our head office is situated in Johannesburg and we have 97 branches in six provinces.”

Zondo urged the youth from rural areas to strive against all the odds.

“To the youth from rural areas — do not allow your poor family backgrounds to be a stumbling block in whatever you want to achieve in life. Persevere and strive to be successful,”Zondo said.

The foundation marked a milestone in scaling up operations through mechanisation during a handover ceremony of the Massey Ferguson MF 5710 tractor on one of its farming sites in Mkhuzeni, Msinga on May 29.

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