The government of South Africa continues to provide support to small-scale farmers. It has taken Cynthia Mokgobu, 29, only three years to grow her business from a small vegetable garden in her backyard to a successful three-hectare farm in Bochum, Limpopo, The South African, a daily online newspaper, reported on Friday, July 15.
After obtaining a Diploma in Ornamental Horticulture from UNISA and commencing a horticulture internship, Mokgobu decided to drop out of the programme and start a small vegetable garden in her backyard.
Three years later, she now supplies local markets with spinach, butternut, baby marrows and cabbages.
“Through Mosibudi Trading Enterprise, we now supply stock to Boxer Superstores, Spar Savemor, Bochum Market and Galito’s Bochum. I also recently joined the small grower programme with Potato SA,” she says.
Mokgobu’s farming journey has been supported by the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (LDARD).
“When I started, the department helped me establish a business plan, showed me how to keep my records and helped me build a good profile for Mosibudi,” she said. “The officials also showed me how to apply for funds from the department.”
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the department granted her R35 000 as part of the COVID-19 relief fund. In 2021, she received a R50 000 voucher to support her business.
“The funds were used for fertilisers and chemicals,” Mokgobu said. “I was able to keep my business afloat and produce more, despite the tough financial year.”
Mokgobu is now using her skills to help other farmers. “I hold online skills development meetings with emerging farmers who don’t have an agriculture background and are not privileged enough to study agriculture. The aim is to empower them with product knowledge and skills so they can apply them when they start their farming journey.”
Farmers can get support for poultry, fruit and vegetables, general livestock, soil preparation, fertiliser application and plant spraying, and subsidies for tractors and equipment.