- After losing her job, Ntando Thabethe saw potential in her large backyard
- Her husband gave her R389 to do her hair but Thabethe decided to buy seeds instead
- At first she only wanted to feed her family but today, Thabethe is running a successful business that employs 40 people
Ntando Thabethe is one woman who is proving that the agriculture sector is not just for men. Thabethe lost her job in mechanical engineering sales because her company relocated from Pinetown to Johannesburg and she could not move because of her family.
Thabethe was left unemployed and her hubby became the household's only breadwinner. With more time on her hands, Thabethe decided to turn her attention to their large backyard.
Instead of getting a new haircut, she used the money to buy seeds.
W24's Athabile Mrasi quoted Thabethe, saying:
"My husband gave me money to do my hair, but I decided not to go to the salon. Instead, I bought seeds worth R389 with it, and when I got home, my husband was surprised by my decision."
At first, she wanted to feed only her family and Thabethe decided to plant broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and spinach.
However, she ended up having more vegetables than what her family needed and decided to sell some of them to other members in the community.
Thabethe continued to enjoy the success of her garden and not only became a superstar in her community but also attracted the attention of a Pick 'n Pay store near her house.
Briefly.co.za learned Thabethe did not have enough peppers to supply the store and had to outsource the outstanding veggies from a tunnel farmer.
She then approached the local municipality to get the go-ahead on a tunnel in her backyard - a request they luckily granted.
Since then, business has been booming. Thabethe started her own company, Elite Crop, and in just a couple of years she has been supplying around eight tons of frozen vegetables monthly to the Durban-based stores.
Elite Crop also landed a deal in Dubai and Thabethe now exports dried production, including herbs and tomato powder, to her partner there.
Aside from her local and international success, the KwaZulu-Natal-based entrepreneur has managed to create employment. Thabethe reportedly employs 40 people at Elite Crop.
Elite Crop successfully landed funding from the Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA), which will allow Thabethe to rent a farm and build 20 hydroponic tunnels.
This will help her create an additional 40 jobs for people in her community.
Briefly.co.za previously reported on another woman in agriculture. Khulile Mahlalela used to work as a farmworker until 2015.
The 31-year-old decided to start her own business in pig farming and she has not looked back since.
In 2019, Mahlalela was crowned Mpumalanga's Female Farmer of the Year.
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