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Mkabile: I ventured into farming to inspire young women in my community

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Someone once said, “Start where you are, with what you have and watch everything align in the end.” That’s the inspiration behind South African born Ncumisa Mkabile’s success story. The 27-year-old Khayelitsha native went viral last year when she took giant strides towards realising her independent farming dream.

The Travel and Tourism graduate started farming in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to shutdown her takeaway business where she sold African Cuisine. The takeaway business was Ncumisa’s only source of income and she needed to think of a plan, so she started selling chicken and doing door-to-door deliveries. When she started out, she was buying from a supplier, but when she saw the demand was high, she started growing her own and supplying people who would also like to start their own business. 

On 20 May 2020, Ncumisa identified a piece of land and planted 20,000 seedlings of spinach. After a few months, she secured another piece of land and planted 20,000 seedlings of green peppers. Describing how she got into farming, she said in her own words: “I learned everything from the Internet.

Because I did not have a mentor, I knew that searching online and watching YouTube channels will be the best option.”

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Today, she is supplying huge supermarkets like Superspar Hilltop in Harare Township and local street vendors. She said she drew her inspiration from her family responsibilities, adding, “I need to provide for my son and mother.”

The amazing South African farmer shares her inspiring story in this exclusive interview.

Growing Up
I grew up in the rural areas in the Eastern Cape Cofimvaba with both parents and five siblings. I grew up exposed to farming, but my family was not into farming. I’m the first farmer in my family and that has also inspired my mother to start farming in the Eastern Cape.

Making The Decision To Leave My Cuisine Business And Venturing Into Poultry And Farming
Because I had responsibilities at home, I had to look for a way for me to generate income again; that is how we entrepreneurs think and operate. Instead of looking at the problem, we find a solution to the problem. I believe if you have a strong ‘why,’ it is impossible for you to give up because you’re what keep you going.

Inspiration Behind My Growing Spinach And Green Peppers
Farming is a male dominated industry, so I wanted to break that chain. I wanted the youth, more especially females, to see that they can also make a living out of farming.

Pitching My Tent In A Challenging Sector And Navigating Through It
It is very challenging, more especially when you don’t have a mentor or someone to coach you because I gather my information from the Internet. Because I’m a risk taker, I decided to start and told myself I’ll learn along the way. Farming is like any other job; if you love what you do and you are passionate you will make it work no matter what because I believe each and every business has its challenges.

My Vision
My dream is to get a bigger farm so that I can farm commercially, supply spinach all over South Africa and other countries, while creating employment opportunities for people.

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Challenges Of My Work
I don’t have an irrigation system; I’m using watering cans. I also don’t have enough land to produce as much as I would like to produce to meet the demand of the community. There is a major challenge with lack of transportation for deliveries as well. I wake up at 06h00 just to plan my day and go to the farm to check if everything is in order. If I have deliveries, I do those deliveries. My day usually ends at 22h00 latest; having the right tools will help my work a great deal.

Advice To Women Who Intend To Go Into Farming
Start small with what you have and gradually grow. Do not wait on the government for fund, but give the government something to work with. Start where you are with what you have and know exactly what you want. It will help you focus on the goal and achieving your dreams

One Woman Who Inspire Me To Be Better And Why
Nomzamo Mbata, she is a risk taker; she goes after what she wants and does not limit herself. She’s showing every child that it is possible to reach your goals; she’s just taking up space and living no stone unturned.

Being A Woman of Rubies
What makes me a Woman of Rubies is the fact that I’m breaking generational curses; I’m showing the Youth in my community that it is possible, and we are capable.

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