Choose to become a farmer today and trust that ubuntu will pave the way

In Africa we have a concept called ubuntu, which basically means “humanity to others” or “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Commercial vegetable farmer Phillipine Pila from the Bahone Agricultural Project just outside Rust de Winter in Limpopo will tell you that it is ubuntu that has led her to where she is today.

When Phillipine and her husband started their farming operations with their business partners a few years ago, it was on a piece of land that was basically unutilised. Today, it is a commercial farm that successfully supplies high-margin veggies to clients, vendors and locals at SASSA outlets in Soshanguve and surrounds. 

During a good season, when the crop yields are high, they also sell to the Tshwane market. Phillipine explains that none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the generous helping hands of others. “We got veggie starter packs from AgricultSURE and Laeveld Agrochem, who are genuinely passionate about empowering emerging black farmers,” she says. 

Laeveld Agrochem’s agronomists also made sure they had the right knowledge, fertilisers and chemicals to get the most out of their crops and continue to walk the walk by regularly visiting the farm and providing advice as and when needed. Phillipine and her partners pay this kindness forward by helping other members of the surrounding communities to start farming. 

Some of the vegetables that are high in demand in our country include lettuce, chicory, pumpkins and leafy vegetables such as amaranth, blackjack and Jew’s mallow. The vegetable that is most eaten by South Africans is carrot, and the veggies that are the most profitable to grow and supply include onions, potatoes, spinach, cucumber, and oyster mushrooms.

“However, even if you just grow veggies in your own backyard and share it with others, it is a way for all of us to help combat unemployment and hunger together,” Phillipine says. The best advice she can give anyone who wants to get started? “Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t think about what you don’t have, because where there is a will, there is a way”. 

The way has actually never been easier, with the upcoming 1-day Farmer Veggie Seedpack Course presented in collaboration between Laeveld Agrochem and Agriskills Transfer. This course will teach you the fundamentals of veggie production and will put one of those famous veggie starter packs in your hand. Basically, you’ll need about 15 square metres of land to start producing your own veggies.

This hands-on, practical course is now offered at an unbeatable cost of R900, but, as a gesture of ubuntu, Laeveld Agrochem has sponsored R400 for each of the first 150 applicants. So, if you seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you will only pay R500! Training will take place on three different dates: 24 September, 29 October and 25 November. 

Just imagine, by the end of this year, you could be joining South Africa’s new generation of “agripreneurs”, help to reduce hunger and poverty, and even create jobs.

Now all we want to know, is what are you waiting for? Simply call (012) 460 9585 or email info@agriskills.net to book your slot or visit www.agriskills.net for more info today. Then show some ubuntu by following @NicheFarmers on Facebook to share the lessons you learn along the way.