When Shimein Seenyane began a farming co-operative several years ago in Ikageng, Rustenburg, it was based on her passion, a one hectare dumpsite and unenemployed volunteer farmers. Today, thanks to the assistance she has received, she employs six permanent staff, has a functional borehole and a business plan for achieving her dreams.
Seenyane was raised on a farm and developed a passion for vegetable farming, which led her to form a co-operative composed of six unemployed women from the local village: “We engaged the municipality and were allocated an illegal dumping side and turned it into a vegetable farm.”
The original members of the co-operative soon left, but Seenyane continued to replace volunteers, determined to make the farm a success: “The biggest challenges included funding and proper technical advice, formalising a market and a borehole that we could not pump water from.”
Introduced to TechnoServe in 2012, Seenyane says she received almost immediate support: “It has been one 16 months that I have been in this project and it has been a very productive time with TechnoServe.
The commitment displayed by the advisors really motivated me a lot and there is a strong relationship between our farm and them.”
Seenyane received agriplanner training, which has changed the way she manages the farm: “Before were just planting but after TechnoServe’s advice we then had a broader understanding of the whole vegetable production. As an example, now we are able to calculate the number of seedlings for a specific area because we understand that will assist us to know our production costs.”
The borehole issue was resolved through funding from ABSA which allowed them to install a new pump and water is no longer a problem. The farm is currently supplying informal markets but a memorandum of understanding has been signed by TechnoServe and a packhouse in Haartebeestpoort, which will have a positive impact on the farm. Seenyane presently employs six people and seasonal labour depending on the farming intensity.
“This project is very important to the community and plays a part in food security. With the help of this project I see myself growing, providing employment to the community and making my dreams a reality.”