DURBAN -Mboneni and Hlengiwe Degree, KZN entrepreneurial couple from KwaDukuza left their jobs to start a sugarcane business.
Mboneni took a bold decision to buy land from Tongaat Hulett.
Armed with his qualification in agriculture and her childhood experience working in her parent's vegetable garden the couple started their business.
Mboneni said, "We resigned from our jobs and used our pensions to pay the deposit for the land".
Through funding from Ithala, the couple was able to buy two farms. In 2001 they bought their first farm which was 137 hectares. In 2006 they purchased a neighbouring farm, they have 190 hectares of land to farm.
They currently produce between 8 000 and10 000 tons of sugarcane per season or eight months.
According to Mboneni, the weather plays a big factor in the amount of sugarcane they produce in a year. He said, "Weather conditions is one of our main challenges and it determines how much sugarcane we produce in a season".
One of the other challenges that the Ngqotheni's face is the community where their farms are based. He said that maintaining a good relationship with them is important in order for the farm to succeed.
They supply their sugarcane to Darnall Sugar Mill in KwaDukuza and they have also vegetable farming to their list of entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Ngqotheni's supply their vegetables to two school feeding schemes as well as the Everfresh in Ballito.
According to Moboneni, he is looking to expand his current business. Mboneni said that he was considering opening a macadamia farm or a pig farming business.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE