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Two young men from rural Mpumalanga, Vusi Mnisi and Ephraim Mathebula, have found hope in farming. For many years Vusi had difficulty finding an employment opportunity and Ephraim worked as a farm labourer on and off for the last couple of years. Neither Vusi nor Ephraim was happy with their situations at that time, and leapt at the opportunity to farm with Timbali Technology Incubator.
Vusi is a 27-year-old young man that could not find proper employment since matriculating. He had to deal with his family that resented him for not earning a steady income and contributing to their livelihood.
32-year-old Ephraim Mathebula worked as a farm labourer on three farms before joining Timbali. Working on all these farms, he never had the opportunity to skill himself in farming. He did not gain any proper understanding of agriculture or farming practices, except for what his task was.
Both Vusi and Ephraim joined Timbali in October 2015 on Timbali Agri-Park R, close to Lydenburg, as farmers. Vusi produces Baby Marrow and Ephraim focuses on Yellow Patty Pan.
These young men had little to no farming experience, except for the limited experience Ephraim had. They both had to realize that making a successful living out of farming would require dedication and 100% commitment from them. Apart from being successful farmers, Timbali farmers strive to deliver excellent quality vegetables 365 days a year, meeting Global Gap Certified Market criteria.
Joining Timbali offered both these men the opportunity to skill themselves as farmers. They have regular technical skills transfer sessions that include modules on soil sampling, soil preparation and transplanting as some of the basic farming skills. They gain knowledge on identifying pests and insects and how to eradicate these pests with the correct process, spraying techniques and different irrigation methods. All the Timbali farmers are trained in technical, business and financial aspects of farming. Both Vusi and Ephraim had training in the E-myth programme that enables them to manage their farming business more effectively.
This season, Vusi’s block is the highest producing block at Timbali Agri-Park R, he is able to produce more than two tons of baby marrows a week. Both Vusi and Ephraim contributes to the current supply contracts for both export and retail niche markets. With the onsite support they have from the Business Unit Managers (BUM) they are able to deliver excellent quality fresh produce.
Timbali Technology Incubator sets up small-scale farmers in sustainable businesses since 2003. As a non-profit organisation they provide business development services including but not limited to business management, accounting and sales. The technical skills, technology and clustering (grouping farmers together to share services and create bulk buying power) create the ability for a small-scale farmer to compete with commercial farmers no matter their literacy, skills or background