Those in the Springs area may know the dynamic Gugulethu Cindy Mahlangu from the Springs market…
The enthusiastic agripreneur also sells her produce to the informal sector and local outlets in Boksburg. “The goal is to start selling my own brand to retail,” says Mahlangu.
Mahlangu’s company is called ‘House Harvest’. She’s currently leasing a tract of land near Boksburg in Gauteng where she farms rape and spinach using tunnels. Her passion is not just growing her veggies, but sharing her knowledge about farming and food security with her community.
“I have dedicated my social media accounts to educating and exposing farmers to opportunities,” she says.
“My biggest passion is education. I want to get my post-grad and investigate the food security our country faces and needs. Everyone has the right to food – how to grow it in a sustainable way and the knowledge on what foods actually do for our bodies.”
Its August, we celebrating womens month. Meet Gugu Mahlangu, a rape and spinach farmer using tunnels, from Boksburg in Gauteng.”My advice to young farmers, especially female farmers, is that go for it, get proative, want to know more” @Gugulethu_CM#femaleFarmer#womensmonth2020 pic.twitter.com/nFwH22s57C
— AGRIPOL CONSULTING SA (@AgripolSA) August 16, 2020
Starting with some savings and a dream
Having received no assistance from government or external funding, Mahlangu used her personal savings and some investment from family and friends to get her business off the ground. As it expands rapidly, she is now looking into getting a bank loan to assist in the expansion.
In 10 years time, Gugulethu aims to be a commercial organic farmer focusing on modern tech in the agriculture sector. She wants to focus specifically on additional hydroponics and aquaponics, and farming in urban areas like cities and towns.
Chicken manure compost heap. Mashed it up real good with water and organic matter. Now I wait. pic.twitter.com/rSqIEKohiF
— Gugulethu Mahlangu (@Gugulethu_CM) August 12, 2020
Dealing with prejudice
Farming is a typically male-dominated industry, and Mahlangu has had her fair share of frustrating experiences. “One guy demanded to see my boss because he assumed I was calling as a secretary! After I explained that I’m my own boss, he started throwing jabs and questioning me on agriculture to prove a point that I don’t know what I’m doing,” recalls Mahlangu.
“It was so strange and belittling to say the least. But that’s the thing about being in this sector you grow up fast and learn to remain strong and that builds up your confidence because now, I have the ‘I’m coming for everything’ attitude.”
Take charge of your own future
Mahlangu advises anyone who wants to join the agricultural sector “to start.”
“Nothing is impossible or difficult. That is what my dad taught me. Some dread the paperwork, some get discouraged due to the lack of resources available, but you have a smart phone, you have a paper you have a pen.”
“Do your business plan. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery have a business plan guideline template that you can download. Completing this is a step into understanding the industry better, and you will be inspired to go open your business. Get a business account and card, design your logo. It’ll be a fun experience that will propel you to the right channels needed to start farming.”
One of the most popular organic farming methods on urban farms is composting.Composting involves using organic waste: vegetable offcuts from your kitchen, as fertiliser for crops and veggies. It reduces the amount of waste farmers produce and is highly environmentally-friendly. pic.twitter.com/aGnqtmcsdS
— Gugulethu Mahlangu (@Gugulethu_CM) August 10, 2020
Follow Gugulethu Cindy Mahlangu on her social media accounts to be inspired!