Gumede’s grape­fruit go global

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

The Egg House cur­rently has 200 chick­ens that lay about 188 eggs per day.

She said the rou­tine for her busi­ness in­cludes feed­ing the chick­ens at about 8:00, fol­lowed by col­lect­ing the eggs dur­ing mid-morn­ing and again later in the af­ter­noon.

“We also do rou­tine checks on the chick­ens to en­sure that they are get­ting enough wa­ter and that they are not sick.”

Mabit­sela sup­plies her eggs to lo­cal shops and also has sup­pli­ers who travel from Pre­to­ria to col­lect eggs to sell.

She added that she would like to ex­pand her busi­ness but to do so she will have to re­cieve ad­di­tional fund­ing.

“My busi­ness is not just about pro­vid­ing for my­self and my fam­ily. If I re­ceived the nec­es­sary fund­ing to grow, I would love to sow the seed of farm­ing in my vil­lage so that more young­sters will en­ter

SOUTH AFRICA ex­ports around 240 000 tonnes of grape­fruit each year. Con­tribut­ing to this fig­ure is a fe­male farmer from KwaZulu-Na­tal.

Hard work and ded­i­ca­tion were the only in­gre­di­ents needed for Sman­gele Gumede from Eshowe to be­come a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman.

Gumede is the owner of the 220-hectare In­tathakusa farm sit­u­ated in Nk­walini, KwaZulu-Na­tal, which pro­duces grape­fruit, or­anges, lemons, sugar cane and veg­eta­bles. When Gumede started farm­ing in 2007, she had no idea it would one day ex­port her pro­duce.

“Ini­tially, I just wanted some­thing to keep me busy as I was tired of be­ing a house­wife. We started as a co-op­er­a­tive with land leased from the Depart­ment Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment but as time went by, some mem­bers opted for live­stock farm­ing in­stead. Even­tu­ally, only my hus­band and I were left.”

Gumede said they worked hard and even­tu­ally re­ceived R7 mil­lion in fund­ing from the depart­ment. “We never looked back.”

Her grape­fruit and or­anges are ex­ported to Japan, Europe and the Mid­dle East. Lo­cally, grape­fruit is sup­plied to a whole­saler in Port El­iz­a­beth, sugar cane is sup­plied to Ton­gaat Hulett and veg­eta­bles to lo­cal stores.

Gumede said that get­ting into the ex­port mar­ket was not easy. “It takes hard work, pas­sion, sac­ri­fice and ded­i­ca­tion. You have to pro­duce the best and be able to meet strict food and safety stan­dards,” she said.

In 2017, Gumede en­tered the pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­ture Fe­male En­tre­pre­neur Awards and she walked away with R125 000 in prize money af­ter be­ing named Fe­male En­tre­pre­neur of the Year. Gumede em­ploys 28 per­ma­nent and 30 sea­sonal work­ers. Most of them are women. One of her work­ers, Siphiwe Khu­bisa, was named the Best Fe­male Farm­worker for 2016 in the same awards.

Gumede’s pri­or­ity now is ac­quir­ing her own pack­house.

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