Feeding and Empowering Families: Meet KZN Agricultural Mastermind Who Farms Fish and More in Her Backyard

Feeding and Empowering Families: Meet KZN Agricultural Mastermind Who Farms Fish and More in Her Backyard

  • Sindi Thusi is a qualified agricultural teacher who studied at the University of Zululand and has a passion for all kinds of farming
  • She ventured into fish farming in 2021 where she learned all the tricks of the specialised trade and set up her own farm at her home
  • She breeds and sells the fish from the fingerling to the mature stage and trains many young people in the work she does
  • Sindi also farms vegetables and chickens for eggs on her property and advises the youth to pursue entrepreneurship

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Mpangeni-born and bred agricultural teacher-turned-farmer, Sindi Thusi, has inspired many people, young and old, through her unique venture of fish farming.

Sindi Thusi farms fish, chickens and vegetables from her home
Sindi Thusi did not miss out on the opportunity to expand her knowledge about agriculture and ventured into fish farming. Image: Sindi Thusi/Supplied
Source: UGC

She breeds and sells the fish from the fingerling stage for people to breed and farm as well as at the mature stage to eat. She spoke to Briefly News about how it all started as well as her passion for what she does.

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Sindi’s interest in farming fish

As someone with a deep interest in all things to do with agriculture, in 2021, Sindi learned about a fish farming training programme presented by the Agricultural Hub in Durban, which instantly piqued her interest. There, she learned a great deal about the trade.

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Sindi, being the go-getter she is, didn’t waste time doing more research and connecting with people who could assist her set up to start her fish farm, which she runs from her home in large electricity-powered tanks.

“I love something that gives me a challenge and farming fish was something unheard-of in my area. As much as I enjoy agriculture, this opened me to a whole different market altogether,” said Sindi, who admits that many people have been intrigued by her unique business.

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Sindi’s love for agriculture

She grew up in an area that is big on farming and agriculture and enjoyed learning about it from a very young age, even though it wasn’t covered as part of the academic syllabus in primary school.

After completing matric, Sindi went on to study a BSc in Agriculture and went on to specialise in agronomy. She did her honours degree at the University of Zululand. Thereafter, she received a job teaching agricultural science.

“I always had the hope that I would one day go on to work for the Department of Agriculture for the longest time. But, I later asked myself why I was longing to go teach other farmers agricultural skills to make money when I don’t have that money.”

Beginning her journey as a farmer

In 2020, Sindi started a small garden farm at her home, where she planted vegetables like spinach. The project continued and grew during the hard lockdown when people were confined to their homes and she had time on her hands.

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She began to farm more vegetables and was even permitted to farm on municipal land in the area. She sold her produce in her community and surrounding businesses.

Sindi soon found that there would often be a shortage of seedlings from her supplier, which proved to be a great inconvenience at the time.

This sparked another business idea in Sindi - to start her own nursery and be a provider of seedlings for herself and keen farmers in her community.

Sindi the poultry farmer

Sindi also farms chickens for eggs, which was a business expansion that was sparked by the KZN looting last year that left many people and stores without food for days.

Sindi was inspired to address yet another need in her community and sell eggs at low prices as compared to mainstream markets.

Lady who farms fish, chickens and vegetables
Sindi Thusi supplies eggs in the community as well as shops and restaurants. Image: Grace Agric Farming/Facebook
Source: Facebook

Through her business, Grace Agric Farming, she has forged great business relationships and supplies eggs in the community as well as to shops and restaurants.

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“People trust me and they know I’m a specialist in agriculture. I not only supply food, but also provide skills development training for farming in the community. The community has even asked that I formalise the training and equip more people with the necessary skills to farm and feed themselves and their families,” shared Sindi, who has plans underway to formulate an official training programme.

Sindi’s advice to aspiring farmers

Sindi said that many people tend to think that they need a large plot of land to start farming, but that is not the case.

“You can start small and grow as a farmer. You don’t need a huge space. For example, I farm my fish in 1 000 litre tanks. One fish can lay 500 eggs in a single day and lay another 500 eggs the following week.
“These fish are very small and can occupy a small space. It is possible to have 1 000 fish in a single tank. And the great thing about fish is that you can sell them at any stage – from fingerling (for as little as R2) to maturity (from R40). It is a really nice business.”

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She shared that the most rewarding part of what she does is that she gets to help people in her community.

“The prices of food are ever-rising and people are struggling more and more to afford. Learning how to farm or buying food from me at lower prices helps them a great deal.
“It feels good to contribute towards helping others and give them hope. Our training helps close a gap for many school leavers who cannot afford to study at university to make something of themselves.
“These youngsters need skills in order to improve the circumstances and agriculture is a great tool to help food on the table through produce and entrepreneurship.”

Sindi motivates people, especially youngsters, to not sit around and wait for a job if things seem bleak but to rather go out there and grab opportunities to develop their skills and be their own bosses.

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Limpopo farmer blossoms as she makes waves in the farming sector

In another story, Briefly News reported that Cynthia Matome (30), born in the village of Gemarke in the Bochum township in Limpopo, has become an inspirational female farmer in her province as she makes waves with her successful agricultural business.

The young farmer grew up observing and assisting her father on his farm, which is where her passion for farming was ignited. Matome's family also created an environment for her to become anything she wanted, and she especially wanted to be her own boss.

“I raise bosses, not children who will be job seekers,” her father would say to his kids.

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