A group of young people from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape have found a lucrative opportunity in cultivating sorghum, a venture that is showing great promise even amid the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Working in partnership with LM Holdings, the Nondobo Cooperative has secured a deal to supply a major brewing company in South Africa with Sorghum.
The cooperative which was founded in 2013 has five members while they have created employment for ten more people.
They decided to venture into farming due to the frustrating conditions of unemployment and poverty that trouble many young people in SA.
“I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a job. We decided to come together and use what is at our disposal to start something,” says cooperative member Anda Zaku.
The country’s unemployment rate currently stands at 29.1%. According to Statistics South Africa, there are more than 3 million young people in the country who are have no access to education, training, and employment.
However, despite these worrying statistics many young people do not see agri-business as a potential career and a way out of poverty.
“Most people believe that to make it you have to move to big cities like Cape Town. But we are changing that mindset. People who are now back home from the city during the lockdown can see that it is possible to create opportunities around you. We are still able to work and be productive despite the pandemic” says Zaku.
With the assistance of LM Holdings founder Luleka Mbete, the cooperative members were able to figure out how best to secure opportunities in the sorghum market value chain.
LM Holdings is a 100% black woman-led company that assists farmers in rural communities to enter the commercial farming industry.
Mbete has formulated a unique business model that places the company at the heart of the rural Eastern Cape to provide business training, guidance, and find opportunities for rural farmers who often struggle to enter the commercial farming market.
LM Holdings is currently assisting more than 300 beneficiaries but sadly only a few are youth.
Mbete says their method is to encourage more young people to enter the industry by showcasing the entrepreneurial side and financial benefits of farming.
“Youth and women in South Africa constitute a large portion of the populace, however, it becomes a stumbling block for them in accessing the economic benefits that come with agriculture. To ensure sustainability we need more youth involvement in agriculture,” says Mbete.