Ngcobo youth Zisanda Poswayo who is passionate about farming and teaching school pupils about the importance of food production, also assists others with interests in agriculture to get funding to start up their businesses.
Poswayo, who holds a BSc masters degree in botany, established Izithwalandwe Farming in 2019. Her breakthrough came last year when she received funding to purchase equipment to start up, from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
“I started the business when I realised the rate of unemployment was so high, which meant the chances of getting a job were limited. I knew I could work something out by starting small, growing from that point and make a living out of it.
“The business mainly focuses on skills development. We are currently working with pupils from Nyanga High and All Saints Primary schools who we educate about food security, poverty alleviation and how agriculture can assist in these aspects,” said Poswayo.
The business received funding to purchase equipment from the NYDA in 2020 and since then Poswayo has never looked back, but took advantage of other funding opportunities to help grow the business venture.
“We bought a greenhouse tunnel where we grow seedlings and sell them to the Ngcobo community. We have also been funded with R10 000 by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. Engcobo Local Municipality has also been instrumental in assisting us and we are grateful to all funders,” she said.
When Poswayo realised she had the knack for funding application, she started assisting other up-coming entrepreneurs by sharing pertinent information about applying.
“I share information on my social media page about how to apply and what information needs to be included to assist other young people who do not know where to start. I do this because I know how hard it is to get funding, so I decided to open a door on an online platform, one that was not there when I needed assistance,” she said.
Poswayo said the Covid-19 pandemic had also played a role in the high rate of unemployment, thus encouraging more people to take an interest in agriculture.
“When applying for funding it is important to identify yourself as a young black unemployed graduate if that applies to you. That is what is usually required by funders. They also look to fund people between the ages 18-35 which is why it is important to start a business soonest because you will not stay young forever and will forfeit the chance to benefit from funding opportunities out there,” she concluded.