City Vision

Thieves hinder farming plans

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Shade netting stolen in Mfuleni by thieves on Tuesday evening 16 February.
Shade netting stolen in Mfuleni by thieves on Tuesday evening 16 February.

A young farmer is calling for donations after her shade netting was stolen by thieves from her piece of land in Mfuleni.

Ncumisa Mkabile (27), who is a beacon of hope to young and old in the area, started her spinach garden last year after her catering business was negatively affected by the national lockdown regulations.

Mkabile, a mother to one child, says the netting was stolen on Tuesday evening 16 February. The garden grows thousands of green peppers and requires the shade to grow properly. The young farmer also supplies spinach to bigger franchises in Khayelitsha and interested vendors.

A devastated Mkabile told City Vision she was disappointed to find her garden in that state. She said she had put a lot of work to ensure its success and was bitterly disturbed by what had happened.

Although she has a National Diploma in Travel and Tourism Operations, Mkabile said lack of work opportunities drove her to do something instead of “crying as that won’t generate me any income”.

“Before I embarked on this journey I was selling takeaways at home, and I even registered a catering company. When I started receiving bookings, as I advertised on social media a lot, the country went to level five lockdown,” she said. “I looked at other ways of surviving and I decided to sell umleqwa door to door. I could see the demand was very high for this as people were unable to move around, so I ended up supplying other people with umleqwa while I also did my door to door,” said the motivated Mkabile.

The young farmer said in that process she identified a piece of land in Mfuleni. She bought it and planted spinach. “On 20 July we made our first harvest and people really started taking note of the work we do,” she said, adding that she sold some of her produce to a leading retailer in Harare, Khayelitsha. She also sold to local vendors. Later, she purchased another piece of land. She used it to plant the green peppers. At least 20 000 peppers are growing in the garden.

“I am now a beacon of hope to many people and I have seven people that work with me in this garden. So, the vandalism doesn’t only affect me but other people that use this place as a source of income,” she said.

Mkabile says she needs about R30 000 to erect the shade and is calling any good Samaritans to dig deep into the pockets. “We are making a difference to this community and I want inspire other women to stand up and venture into farming. We know this industry is male dominated and we need to break that chain,” she said.

While she admits that she does not have any farming background, Mkabile says she relies on internet to learn farming tips. “I want people out there to know that they can also do farming without having had to go to school for it. If I was able to do it, so can they,” she added.

To donate to Mkabile one can follow the link: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/ncumisa-mkabile

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