Once an unemployed rural farmer, Nokwanda Nkqayi (64) is now one of thousands of women who have been empowered to become agri-entrepreneurs through the AgriPlanner Programme in Cape Town.
The programme is a joint initiative between the SA Institute for Entrepreneurship and Coronation Fund Managers, which has assisted over 5 000 emerging farmers, 65 percent of which are women. The programme falls under Coronation’s Growing Entrepreneurs initiative.
Nkqayi has been working at the Siyazama Community Food Garden in Khayelitsha since 2004. Prior to this, she and three other women and two men were unemployed and new to the city.
“The municipality gave us this land to farm and we received AgriPlanner training. Now we grow peppers, kale, cabbage, leeks, rocket, herbs and lots of other things,” she said.
The fully organic food garden supplies produce to hotels, restaurants, retailers and families in Cape Town, through a vegetable box ordering programme. Each farmer has gone from only farming to feed themselves and their families, to earning an average income of between R8 000 and R12 000 a month.
The AgriPlanner training equips participants with the knowledge and skills needed to become successful farmers.
“I am much healthier from eating these organic vegetables and getting exercise every day. It has also empowered me. I was unemployed, but now I have a variety of skills and a steady income. I was able to send my kids to school.
“I also take veggies to the poor, sick and elderly in the community, and five schools each have a patch of land here that the children farm with our help,” she said.
The Coronation Growing Entrepreneurs programme aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and South Africa’s National Development Plan, to address food security, inequality, poverty and environmental sustainability.
“Farmers play a vital role in local communities, including creating jobs, adding to food security and benefiting the local economy,” said Coronation CEO Anton Pillay.
“Climate change and a lack of training and business support are some of the challenges they face. This is why we will continue to offer local food growers practical training and entrepreneurial support,” he added.
For more information about the programme, email email@example.com or call 021 447 2023