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Zoutnet | 14 April 2024

When a young woman from Maraxwe village received a portion of farming land from her father, she decided to make the most of the opportunity. Today, she is making steady inroads in the market with her produce, such as her specially blended mango achar.

Funzani Muthevhuli Bila (30) is a crop farmer from Maraxwe, located some 30 kilometres from Thohoyandou. A few years ago, she received four hectares of land from her father and started planting sweet potatoes, peanuts, and cabbages. She also registered her own mango achar product, Sanas Piquant Mango Achar, which is sold in buckets and in bulk countrywide.

Funzani believes that more young people should go out there and create their own opportunities, instead of waiting to be employed. “Unemployment and poverty have become a way of life for many young people in this country. Many are educated but are still jobless years after obtaining their qualifications. This is unacceptable. It cannot go on like this. Young people have their future in their own hands, and this can only be realised if they start their own businesses and employ others,” she said.

When Funzani’s father, Mr Dakalo Tshililo, gave her some land to farm on, he also taught her the basic skills she needed. She now wants to pass on these skills to other young people, especially rural women, to enable them to participate in the economy.

“I want to be among the women who strive hard to fight poverty, youth unemployment, and hunger by increasing the quantity of the products we produce, so that more young and local people will be employed,” she said.

But she admits that farming is not easy, with unique challenges. In her case, one of the biggest problems remains water. “Climate change is a huge challenge because we no longer have rainfall as we used to have. The crops are irrigated using furrows running from the mountain, but this is not sustainable. Having at least two boreholes will be a great help,” she said.

A major problem for small producers such as Funzani is access to markets. “I wish local and central markets could consider my products. This will strengthen the economy of the municipality and the region,” she added. Currently, she markets her products on platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and WhatsApp. She makes use of a delivery service to get her products to her clients.

“The richest bank in the world is agriculture, and politicians and the business world must continue to play a role to enable us, mostly women, to generate funds to fight poverty in rural villages,” she said.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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