You hear the stories of youth unemployment but what if I told you there was a way out just like it did for me.
My name is Phathutsedzo, I am 26 years old and from Limpopo in a small village called Ha Mandiwana. Life here is rural and ordinary, few urban developments here and there with basic amenities a bit far from your fingertips.
Like any aspirant youth, after matriculating at Dzata Secondary Highschool, I had dreams of going to college and earning a qualification in electrical engineering. That I did with Vhembe TVET College but there were no job offers waiting for me.
Fours years later, still struggling to gain a learnership and a job for that matter, I gave up the little hope I had. One day out of the blue while taking a long stroll in my village, I got reminded about my upbringing and how happy I was then.
Without any reservation, I started bought seedlings with the little money I had and started planting ‘to get mind off things.’ I was ashamed of it at first, thinking what will people say but as time went by, I fell in love with I was doing and I got to spent more time planting.
The little space then turned into hectares as I got to plant more. This when we started growing and we invited another person who was also struggling to get employment. Later, we were joined by more youth and it is when we expanded.
Overall, we managed to produce and sell green pepper, tomatoes, onions and cabbage in and around our area. It was profitable, as we managed to earn more than an intern working in an office.
My partner Mpfariseni Beauty Rasimphi (who I should add I met at Vhembe TVET College) came with the idea for us to venture into agro processing. I was baffled at the thought as we were doing ok with our farm operations.
She indicated to me the need for us to diversify and it is then we established Marvel Chilli Sauce. Out of the farm produce, we developed three chilli sauces; tomato jam, fruits jam and vegetable atchaar.
The demand and response for our chilli sauce has been fantastic and we looking forward to operating our first agro-processing plant. We are in talks with various entities to procure us an industrial blender and a filling capping machine.
We are growing as Marvel Chilli Sauce because of agriculture. I look back at the four years of misery but when I come to think about it, it was worth it. Change of mindset is critical, government is not going to come to your house and give you a job.
Through agriculture, I realised the plenty of opportunities. I wake up excited every-day. Our farming operations have also attracted local chiefs and we have applied for more land.
Again, my story is not big but, with agriculture, we can tackle the scourge of youth unemployment. The simplicity of it is that, we should not be embarrassed to start farming. The many we are the more food secure we become.
By Phathutsedzo Marvelous Madula
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Mzansi Agriculture Talk or its members.