The US Consulate in Durban and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) conducted an exciting Agri-Women boot camp last week to expose the youth to new agricultural solutions and careers in the sector.
Among the participants was 20-year-old broiler poultry farmer and entrepreneur Ntokozo Mafu, who is driven to inspire the local youth to help stop poverty.
Mafu, a DUT student, is the founder of her own business, Madam Clucks A Lot, where she grows and sells broiler chickens to people living in the Edendale, Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas.
Mafu said the programme was a great learning experience in terms of developing and growing her skills.
“I found the experience thrilling because we got not only training, but pointers on what to do, and we were given information on resources available that help black youth and young entrepreneurs.
“What I liked about the programme is that there were women of all ages, not just young people. It was a great learning experience and it gave us exposure needed to grow as women in agricultural business,” said Mafu.
Mafu added that she got her love for agriculture from her father.
“I did not like agriculture initially, both of my parents have influenced me to start farming. My late father had cows, goats, sheep and other livestock. He was the type of man to make you hover around him, so when he died and things changed within the family, that is when I decided to take part,” said Mafu.
DUT InnoBizz Centre of Entrepreneurship manager Nontokozo Ngcobo said that the aim of the programme was to empower black women in the sector and give exposure to women in agricultural business in KZN.
“It also to expand opportunities for women within the sector and to network,” said Ngcobo.
Public affairs officer of the US Consulate in Durban, Jaclyn Cole, said the programme was to benefit women in agriculture who are without basic resources, and to create networking and mentorship opportunities.
“We have been working with the DUT Midlands campus to see how we could help expand economic opportunities, not only to the youth but the women in KZN.
“What we found for this project was that there were many women who did not have access to land or the technical skills to be able to participate in agriculture, building into a larger entity.
“The goal of the US government is to increase equitable growth by investing in women entrepreneurs, who do so much to increase their local marketplace, build their local communities as well as build the South African economy,” said Cole.
The Independent on Saturday