Olga Motshweni (25) from Doornkop in the local municipality of Steve Tshwete, aspires to introduce young people to agriculture as a means of reducing unemployment.
Motshweni is the youth president of this municipality in agriculture and rural development. The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Lands and Environmental Affairs (Dardlea) has helped her a lot in making farming a business.
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Motshweni started with a back garden when she was young, selling her local produce to make ends meet until she was approached by the department and supported.
In 2019, Dardea approached Motshweni and enrolled her in Marapyane Agricultural College, where she learned important farming skills. In 2020, she obtained her diploma in agriculture and animal production.
After graduating, Motshweni attended more seminars organized by Dardea to gain more knowledge. In November 2021, she got into farming and planted dry beans for a period of six months, which enabled her to produce three tons of beans now in June.
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According to her, she wants young people to focus more on agriculture because it offers more opportunities: “Young people need to move away from the mentality that agriculture is only for old people. Agriculture is profitable and creates more jobs. It doesn’t require a lot of resources, just arable land and a willingness to work hard when planting.
She said she wanted to hire more people.
“I want to start cultivating on a larger scale so that more young people can be employed. I want them to understand that farming is a career that will last a lifetime, unlike other jobs where they can be fired. The president of the country also owns farms and lives off them, which prevents young people from taking inspiration from him,” Motshweni said.
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Dardea said: “Olga Motshweni is her own boss. The Doornkop-based aspiring farmer started vegetable production in 2019. She has also ventured into growing dried beans which she received from the department and is now celebrating her first harvest with an already secure market. Motshweni’s dry beans have yielded around three tons on a 1 ha plot where she employs three locals to help her cultivate and harvest.
She said she wanted to earn enough money to be able to venture into her first love, which is farming.