“As A Starter Farmer, I Only Had Curiosity.”

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AS TOLD TO

A 26-year-old commercial farmer from KwaNongoma in KwaZulu-Natal says she wishes all young people could venture into farming. Ayanda Zulu, who specialises in crop farming shared her journey as a young female farmer with the Daily Vox.

I started farming back in 2016 after having met someone who is a farmer and had bought a car cash. My curiosity started there and I’ve been at it since then. When I started I encountered some challenges which were driven by my lack of knowledge, not having known what doors to knock on for assistance took a strain on me. But, with research everything then started falling into place.

Many black youth are not informed enough about farming and what it is. This is due to the current curriculum and teaching and learning system at schools, which doesn’t provide the necessary knowledge for wealth and economy generation.

Farming is still looked down upon as something that is not important and can only be done by certain people. But what we fail to do is look at the bigger picture of where everything comes from. All the food we consume comes from farming because farming is not only limited to crop farming, but there’s poultry as well. All we need to do is research and see what kind of farming one can do with love.

Farming has taught me so many things I didn’t know about, things I wish I could have been taught back in school. The current education system is failing us because we are being taught about things that we might never even need in our lifetime. We are being taught about being an employee and not an employer.

South Africa is rich in different natural resources. In KwaZulu-Natal there’s marine life which should form part of the curriculum. There is a harbour that young people should be taught about from a young age so that they can know about import and export. In Gauteng there is Gold, but none of the people there knows how to purify it and turn it into jewellery. Instead, our natural resources are being exported to other countries and when they come back to us they cost fortune. Why don’t we have many people who are specially trained in these fields?

Farming generates so much economy but we can’t see it if many of our people still see it as a dirty job. Being a farmer doesn’t necessarily mean that one will be dirty, although you might want and need to so that you have special knowledge of how plants work, and how animals work. But, it’s more than that.

I currently have employees in my farm who are helping me with all the processes. I supply different crops to different clients and whatever remains I sell and give away to the community because they are my eyes and ears.

When I started farming I had no background in agriculture but curiosity. It took me to go through different doors seeking assistance, from banks to sponsorships and many other companies. After realising that it was doable, I had to stick to research for more information and necessary knowledge I needed. I got to know that there are many skills programme for people who want to get into farming but have no background in agriculture.

Farming in South Africa stands a good chance at being the best economy vehicle in the future if young people could encouraged to venture into it. Both educated and uneducated, a lot can be achieved in unison because our parents grew up with farming but had no education background in it. We also need more agriculture colleges and skills training programmes

Featured image provided by Sabelo Mngoma.

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