With food security becoming serious, young people in Sterkspruit have gone for innovative ways to produce fresh products.
Farming is a big source of livelihood in rural Eastern Cape, but lack of access to arable land and resources often limits young aspiring farmers. However, married couple Thuso Moleleki (33) and Nosizwe Moleleki (30) managed to turn their small innovative vegetable garden into a sustainable business.
The Molelekis are a young couple from Mokhesi, Sterkspruit. They started organically farming vegetables during the height of Covid-19, in June 2020, after they left their 9 to 5 jobs. The Molelekis began planting vegetables using new innovative farming methods. They use recycled materials such as old flour bags and plastic bags to create more planting space in their small garden. Undeterred by the lack of resources and other challenges that came with farming in rural areas, the Molelekis not only were they able to provide vegetables for their family but they managed to sell their first harvest to their community at large.
With the current high rate of unemployment and food security rapidly becoming a serious issue in South Africa, the couple are part of the solution. They created their own sustainable jobs, generating income and producing affordable fresh organic products to their community.
“We strongly encourage young people to come out of their comfort zone and not wait on government for jobs but to use whatever available small space they may have to plant and produce food,” said Thuso Moleleki. Their farming is not only focused on producing vegetables but also aimed at changing young people’s perspective of farming through job creation, whilst also educating other young people about new creative and innovative ways of farming.
After negotiating with local land owners, they are currently working at a bigger garden and are continuously producing dozens of organic potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. “We are hoping to sell our organic vegetables to big retail shops in Sterkspruit,” explained Moleleki. As the farm grows and demand increases, the Molelekis are looking at development ideas and creating employment, specifically for young people in the area.
The young farmers are currently looking for more land and resources such as water pumps to helps with irrigation, so they can smoothly continue with their farming journey.
They are currently distributing vegetables to street vendors in Sterkspruit and selling their fresh produce door to door in their village in Mokhesi.
This article was submitted on 04 January 2023. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online ( www.Karibu.org.za ), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.