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Jobs: How 26-year-old Nontokozo Mdletshe started her business with only R150

Nontokozo Mdletshe. Picture: Supplied

Nontokozo Mdletshe. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 13, 2022


Nontokozo Mdletshe, 26, is making her agriculture dreams come true.

With R150, the young woman started an organic farm located in Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg, that produces vegetables such as spinach, peppers, and beetroot.

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The Mtubatuba born go-getter holds an Honours degree in Agronomy from the University of Zululand as well as two qualifications from the Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute.

Mdletshe describes herself as being fiercely independent, a quality she picked up after attending boarding school.

Initially she was not interested in farming, but her mother urged her to choose Agriculture as one of her subjects in Grade 10 because of a neighbour who found success in the field.

“He was the only one in the whole community who did it and become wealthy because of it. He was an inspiration to all of us,” says Mdletshe.

Her attitude changed once she got to Grade 11 where she learned more about the subject, leading her to pursue agriculture at university.

Mdletshe also offers advice to people who want to learn more about agriculture and how to enter the field.

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“I tell them that you can use what you have to start a garden; you don’t need expensive equipment. I used R150 to begin my business and utilised materials that were already here.”

She has another farm that she just started with her business partner, Vusumuzi Mlangeni.

She is currently part of the Women in Farming programme, a Momentum Metropolitan Foundation and Agri Enterprises initiative.

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Mdletshe says she is excited to be chosen for this programme given the scarcity of opportunities for women in agriculture field.

“I want to gain more knowledge on farming management that will equip me to grow a viable farming business that will be both profitable and sustainable,” she says.

She also has her sights set on urban farming and using recycled materials in her work.

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"At first, I was very doubtful about being in such a male-dominated industry. Then I was inspired by Nonhlanhla Joye, a woman who started an agriculture business and is now the chief executive of Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute.”