Ngaleka’s magic in­gre­di­ent is a boom­ing busi­ness

Vuk'uzenzele - - Rural Development - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

When Ntomb­i­fik­ile Ngaleka started plant­ing veg­eta­bles in her yard she had no idea that one day she would own a farm­ing busi­ness that sup­plies lo­cal shops and school feed­ing schemes.

Ngaleka (67) is from KwaXolo in Port Shep­stone, KwaZulu-Na­tal.

She farms spinach, cab­bage, car­rots toma­toes, onions sugar beans and ba­nanas. Her busi­ness won the ti­tle of best sub­stance pro­ducer in 2016 dur­ing the KwaZulu-Na­tal Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Fe­male En­trepreneurs Awards.

Ngaleka said when she started plant­ing veg­eta­bles, she wanted to help her fam­ily get fresh food but her pas­sion drove her into busi­ness. She has also em­ployed two lo­cal women to work on her farm.

“I am cur­rently plant­ing my pro­duce on two hectares of land but it is not enough. Peo­ple want my veg­eta­bles be­cause I do not use chem­i­cal fer­til­iz­ers. I use com­post from cat­tle kraals,” she said.

Ngaleka a for­mer teacher said she had a pas­sion for farm­ing while she was still work­ing as a teacher at Gcil­ima Pri­mary.

“I used to come back from school and go to the fields. I was ob­sessed with healthy eat­ing. When I reached re­tire­ment age all I wanted to do was farm in my spare time.

“I started with spinach, cab­bage and beet­root and sold it to the lo­cal clinic. Ev­ery day I would come back with all my stock sold. This mo­ti­vated me to plant even more,” she said.

Ngaleka ex­plains that veg­etable farm­ing has its chal­lenges.

“Veg­eta­bles are not pop­u­lar with many farm­ers be­cause the weather needs to be per­fect. It must not be too cold or hot,” she said.

Through the prof­its Ngaleka ac­cu­mu­lated from her farm­ing busi­ness she bought an ad­di­tional three hectares of land where she will be plant­ing tea trees.

“I have also found the mar­ket where I will sup­ply the spe­cial trees. Tea trees make es­sen­tial oil that heals skin prob­lem such as rash.”

Ngaleka en­cour­aged women to ven­ture into farm­ing es­pe­cially since it has many ben­e­fits.

“You can do it in own yard and ex­pand. The world is full of op­por­tu­ni­ties for women.”

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