A self-taught young farmer from kwaMaphumulo, north of Durban, won the Social Entrepreneur category at the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Business Awards.
After graduating with a business management degree in 2019, Mhlengi Ngcobo found himself unemployed. He started a small vegetable garden at home to take care of it. His passion for agriculture ignited.
Mhlengi Ngcobo, 23, lost her father to violent taxis. While receiving psychological help, he was encouraged to find something to take care of. And so he started a small vegetable patch in his garden. This is how Boyane Agri Farming was born.
Today, Ngcobo cultivates 120 hectares of land and supplies fresh vegetables to chain stores in KwaZulu-Natal. It also trained around 200 young people, many of whom were previously unemployed.
“I am training young people and women from these communities on the basis of farming skills so that we can curb the growing number of drug addiction crimes at unemployment rate, as well as teenage pregnancy and another problem we are facing. are faced with an increasing number of dropouts. in high school because of financial problems or because of drug addiction.
Statistics South Africa reports that the country’s unemployment rate reached 32.6% in the first three months of 2021. In an effort to break this cycle, Ngcobo urged young people to be more innovative in overcoming unemployment.
“Unfortunately, this is something that does not require an individual to change the growing number of unemployment in South Africa. We understand that we are facing a pandemic and that the pandemic has been with us for almost two years now. As young, innovative and capable young people, we must think outside the box and also understand that our world is changing, gradually moving up degrees or qualifications. Now it’s a matter of what you can put on the table. This is why I insist on the fact that even if you have a particular qualification, roll up your sleeves, put your qualification aside and go for it.
Ngcobo repays it by helping other young men and women. Many have unrelated degrees but with little prospect they have turned to farming for a living. They say they still need help with fences and an irrigation system to support their crops.
“It was put in place to help those who are at home. who suffer from unemployment so that they come to do agriculture so that they can sell their products bring something to the table.
“I thought I should join Agriculture in order to have access to Agri Processing and thus have my own product business in the years to come. “
“We would be helped to acquire knowledge about planting, as well as to obtain resources such as land, water, irrigation, as we need them. “
Mhlengi Ngcobo may have a passion for farming, but the energetic young farmer says he is determined to share his skills with other young people, so that they too can turn the situation around.