#ImStaying has many stories of courage.  The wonderful thing about them is that they often inspire others.

One such story involves a wonderful young lady from Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats.  She had to close down her take-away business due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Many others have suffered this way lately and the stories are sad, and sometimes desperate.  But here is a good one.

”My name is Ncumisa Mkabile, I’m a 27 year old female farmer from Khayelitsha in Cape Town.” 

Ncumisa was just not prepared to give up when her business folded because of the lockdown.  As this was her only source of income, she did what South Africans do. Instead of bemoaning her fate, she ‘made a plan’.

First of all, she tried selling laying chickens; buying from a supplier and going door to door.  But she found that the demand for these chickens was so good that she decided to become a supplier as well. 

She rented a piece of ground in Mfuleni, and started farming in May, 2020

The initial plan was to plant green peppers in September as a summer crop.  But she was impatient to get going sooner. Since she does not have an agricultural background, she went online to search for information.

She chose to plant spinach because she learned that it would be easy to maintain and could survive weather conditions.  

 The spinach was planted in May. Her first crop of 1000 bunches sold out in no time at all

Her farming business has gone from strength to strength and she now employs seven people.  Two of her employees are permanent, and five are part-time workers.  “That is the biggest achievement for me because I’m creating job opportunities for the people.”

Her ambition is to become a commercial farmer.  She wants to produce and supply fresh fruit and vegetables to companies and businesses all over South Africa.  She also wants to create job opportunities and inspire others to follow her example.

 People want to support entrepreneurs with the courage to start something like this

Because of her entrepreneurial spirit, Ncumisa is getting support from the community and social media for which she is very grateful.  The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has donated compost and garden equipment. Mr Michris Janse van Rensburg has given her a fertiliser applicator, which he invented to help farmers in Africa.  Mrs Lusanda Ngesi donated money to enable her to buy working gloves and other necessities, and Mr Ebrahim Jeewa donated a pressure spray.  

As Michris Janse van Rensburg says, “People like this should be encouraged.”

The main challenge that faces her at present is watering her plants.  There is no irrigation system and watering cans have to be carried to water the whole farm.  She plans to plant green peppers in September and, although they would do a lot better in a greenhouse, that is just not possible at present.  

“I’m truly grateful for all the support I’m getting,” she says sincerely.

Land has now been purchased in Tzaneen in Limpopo because in Cape Town the property is too small to cope with the demand.  In Cape Town, she has also found it difficult to source seedlings.

 This is a young lady who has a great future ahead of her and it is hoped that her story will inspire others to defeat the problems in their lives, and help others at the same time.

 It is hoped that government grants will help small enterprises that have proved their worth as this one has.

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