Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture

the Empowering Rural youth in Agriculture project came to a close in 2023 due to lack of funding. However, we want to share some of the many successes and stories from the youth and farmers.

You can help us continue this project and help 3000 youth sell R100 Million worth of goats and build their own goat and related agribusinesses. 

“My name is Nompumelelo Zondi. I am 28 years old and I am one of the 3000 youth who are part of the Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture project with Mdukatshani and HPSA. I have been proud to serve my community for the past six months.” 

“I live at Sampofu near Tugela Ferry in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. I have two children, a boy and a girl and live with my partner and family.”

Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture Project is a partnership between Mdukatshani and HPSA, working in partnership as the Goat Agribusiness Project (GAP), and funded and supported by partners such as the Jobs Fund and National Youth Development Agency. The project employed 3000 rural youth across 150 project sites in KwaZulu Natal starting in April 2022.

“I was recruited in April and started work in June 2022. I have learned a lot during my time with the project about livestock and diseases and this gave me the idea to start my own business.”

“I started my blockmaking business in February 2023. So far, I have sold 118 blocks to farmers. I also sell at Tugela Ferry. It’s a busy place and where people buy groceries. I go around with my blocks selling by telling people the benefits of the blocks. I sell them for R20 each.”
Protein blocks are a supplemental feed for goats, usually the most vulnerable and made from five easily found ingredients. The recipe can be found here.  HTTPS://WWW.GAPKZN.CO.ZA/RESOURCES/GOAT%20BLOCK%205%2017%20BROCHURE.PDF 

Click on the button below to read more about Nompumelelo's success and her hopes for the future.

“I AM NONHLE MAGWANYANA. I AM 25 YEARS OLD AND A PARTICIPANT IN THE EMPOWERING RURAL YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE PROJECT WITH HPSA AND MDUKATSHANI (GOAT AGRIBUSINESS PROJECT).”
 “I COME FROM ELANGENI which IS NEAR MUDEN IN KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTh AFRICA. I HAVE A SON WHO IS 8 YEARS OLD AND I LIVE AT HOME WITH FIVE FAMILY MEMBERS.”
“THROUGH THIS PROJECT AND THE STIPENDS I MADE DURING THE TIME I WORKED, STARTING IN 2022, I WAS ABLE TO START MY OWN BUSINESS SELLING FOOD AT MUDEN COMBINED SCHOOL IN MUDEN. I SELL A VARIETY OF THINGS RANGING FROM SANDWICHES, HOTDOGS, POPCORN, CHIPS TO COOL DRINKS AND FRUIT.”
EMPOWERING RURAL YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE PROJECT IS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN MDUKATSHANI AND HPSA, WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP AS GAP, AND FUNDED AND SUPPORTED BY PARTNERS SUCH AS THE JOBS FUND AND NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY. THE PROJECT EMPLOYED 3000 RURAL YOUTH ACROSS 150 PROJECT SITES IN KWAZULU NATAL STARTING IN APRIL 2022.
“I BUY MY SUPPLIES FROM GREYTOWN AND THEN FIGURE OUT MY PROFIT. I GENERALLY CAN SELL ABOUT R600 A DAY AT THE SCHOOL AND WHEN THERE IS LEFT OVER FRESH FOOD, I TAKE IT TO THE CLOSEST TOWN AND SELL THE REST AND GET ANOTHER R300 OR SO. I ALMOST ALWAYS SELL EVERYTHING. I WILL KEEP EXPANDING MY BUSINESS, MAYBE INTO HOT FOODS LIKE VETKOEK. THE TEACHERS HAVE SAID THEY WOULD BUY IT.”

Click on button below to read more about Nonhle's success and her hopes for the future.

“My name is Mfikiseni Sikhakhane. I am from KwaVumbu, near Weenen in KwaZulu Natal. I am 28 years old and have one son and live with my family, there are 7 of us. My calling started from when I was a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW) for the Goat Agribusiness Project (GAP) in 2019.”

GAP is a partnership between Mdukatshani and HPSA, based in KwaZulu Natal. GAP started as a project in 2015 and working to commercialise 9000 rural farmers, mainly women, and train and equip 700 CAHWs. At the time the project was working with provincial and national government departments but has since taken on a variety of other initiatives and projects like the current National Youth Development Agency and The Jobs Fund Project through which is giving opportunities to 3000 youth like Mfikiseni across 150 project sites in KwaZulu Natal (KZN).

Mfikiseni, after several rounds of interviews, was selected to work for the Jobs Fund Project and serve as a team leader. He says the money he earned in this project really helped take his business to another level, “The stipend has really helped me top up my veterinary medicine stock and boost my business. I also had another business selling vegetables but I decided to stop that business and just focus on my animal health business because I see there is better potential. There is only one person at home who has a permanent job so I used some of my stipend to support my family and buy groceries such a maizemeal. I have been trying to further my studies on animal health so a part of the stipend went for transport to get to the courses.”


Click button below to read more about Mfikiseni's success and his hopes for the future

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"My name is Phindile Ndlovu. I am 29 years old. I am married with three children. I live in Dungamanzi, near Tugela Ferry in KwaZulu Natal with 15 family members. I have been working with GAP (Mdukatshani and HPSA) as a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW) for the past 7 years. I applied for this Jobs Fund Youth Project as a Team Leader and was successful. I have seen first-hand how this project has helped farmers with their goats. Many farmers have wild goats that don’t want to come home. Before they would go to traditional healers to try and find solutions to help them lure their goats home. Most of the time it didn’t work so well. We introduced homemade protein blocks to farmers and they started giving these to their goats. Now the farmers are thanking us. The goats come home because they know they will find the blocks and the farmers don’t have to go to traditional healers. There is a huge demand for the protein blocks.”
With the stipend I got during this project, I have started a small business of buying medicines and helping farmers. The business is going well so far. Additionally, in my family of 15, I am a breadwinner, so I have used my stipend to buy groceries, uniforms for the children, give them pocket money and buy food for lunches.”
“I am Snethemba Mbatha. I am married with one child. I am 29 years old and live in Ngwini, near Weenen in KwaZulu Natal (KZN). I am a team leader for the GAP/Jobs Fund Youth Project.”
The Goat Agribusiness Project is a partnership between Mdukatshani and HPSA. This Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture project has been employing 3000 youth over the past six months, training them to support rural farmers in KZN to increase their herd productivity. The youth supported over 27000 farmers and gained practical experience with livestock health and nutrition. The youth were paid monthly stipends and this enabled almost 1000 of them to transition into other opportunities such as their own small businesses. Snethemba was one of these youth who started her own business with the help of the knowledge she gained and the monthly stipend.

“I started a business selling eggs, vegetables and Tupperware from my house. Also, it helped me with our goat herd. In my home, the goats were dying in numbers, now we have 69 kids. The main challenge was ticks and dipping has helped tremendously. Before I learned about animal health about 40 of the goat kids would have died." Kid mortality is one of the biggest challenges farmers face in the rural areas. the youth were trained to identify the main diseases and conditions affecting goats and the treatments and provided with basic veterinary medicines and a field guide when supporting the farmers in the 150 project sites.
"The stipend also helped me acquire a certificate to be a cashier. Additionally, I bought clothes for the family.”
“My name is Andile Nyawose. I am 21 years old. I come from an area called Thembeni near Keats Drift. I live with 13 family members. I am a team leader of the GAP/Jobs Fund Youth Project. I had 3 groups that I managed. This was not an easy task as they were spread far apart and I had to walk long distances at time to collect paperwork.”

The Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture project started in April 2022 and is coming to an end in March 2023. GAP (Mdukatshani and HPSA) trained 3000 youth in census taking, animal health and animal nutrition. The youth supported over 27000 farmers during this past year while earning a stipend. Over 1/3 of the youth have gone on to start their own businesses or into other opportunities. The youth supported the farmers with diseases and conditions with their goat herds. External parasites can be destructive to a herd. Ticks can cause limping, abscesses and even heartwater which leads to death.

Andile said “Communities found dipping of their goats useful. We were trained on how to do this and given medicines. Even in my family they were not aware you can dip your goats and it is more effective and the goats will be healthier.” Youth were also trained on how to make protein blocks using five locally available ingredients. “We supported farmers with protein blocks and they were very happy. They gave them to the vulnerable goats in their herds.”

“The stipend has helped me become independent and become more active. I used it to apply for jobs. I have an offer to be an Education Assistant and I am starting in March at Nomfomela Primary School. I was able to buy clothes for myself and my siblings.”
 
“My name is Mbuyiselwa Mbhele and I am 35 years old. I live in Mziyonke under Alfred Duma local municipality in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. I live at home with a family of 10 people. I started working with the GAP/Jobs Fund Empowering Rural Youth in Agriculture Project last year. I have always wanted to have livestock of my own. By working hard and earning a stipend with this project, I was able to buy 3 pregnant female goats. I have learned so much from the trainings and have been able to rear the goat kids successfully. I started as a participants in the project and now I all myself a farmer. No one at home in my family of 10 is working. So the stipend has also allowed me to support my family to buy groceries and other basic needs.
“My name is Vumile Mvelase. I am 30 years old. I have 2 children and I live in Mashunka, Masinga in KwaZulu Natal. I have started my own business. I order chicks and raise them. It takes 6 weeks to grow. Every 2 weeks I order 30-40 chicks. I buy feed from Tugela Ferry. I pay R10 rand for chicks and sell for R100. I sell from my house. I started this business from the stipend that I got from working as a team leader in the GAP/Jobs Fund Youth Project. Before I didn’t have this business and I was unemployed. I learned about livestock from the trainings of this project. This helped me get the idea of this business. Also my mother helped me because she worked at a battery chicken project. I sell about 30 chickens a month. A challenge is many don’t have cash to pay for the chickens. About half pay in cash and half pay on credit.”
"My name is Mpumelelo Mbatha. I am 29 years old. I am single and live at home with my parents, four brothers and one sister. I am working with the GAP Jobs Fund Youth Project and live in Odushwini, Nongoma in KwaZulu Natal. I was living in Johannesburg and had a small shisa Nyama business going but It stopped and I became unemployed and moved back home. I started working with this project in June and by October I was able to restart my Shisa Nyama Business. It is thriving and Sustainable."



"My name is Lethiwe Thabede. I am 35 years old. I am working in the Odushwini project area for the GAP Jobs Fund Youth Project. I have used the training to learn more about livestock. With the money I earn every month, I buy groceries for the family. I have also started a small business of buying 30 chickens at a time and selling them. The next month I buy 30 more. This is a good business. I sell them for R110 each."
"My name is Pretty Girl Thokozisile Vilakazi. I am 30 years old and from Mwane, Nkandla. I work with the GaP Jobs Fund Youth Project. I am one of nine children and I have a child of my own. My father died and my mother left to find a job. I have been using my stipend from this job to put my brother through school so he can get a public administration degree so one day he can help the family. One of our brothers is disabled. I also used my stipend to get a security certificate but they only want people with experience. I try and sell chips as a side hustle to add to our income as I am the only one working of the nine. I enjoyed this work and looked forward to seeing the others every day and not worry about all the stresses at home."
"I am Nozipho Sithole. I am 28 years old. I am a widow and live with my in-laws in Ezilozini, Nkandla. I have been working with the GAP Jobs Fund Youth Project this past year.  My husband died and left me with a child. I started a small business selling airtime using the stipend to buy stock. I used the stipend for everything... For groceries, for household needs. I also used the money to buy Christmas gifts this year. I bought clothes for my son.

Click on the report to read the self evaluation done on the Empowering rural youth in Agriculture.