When she was a schoolgirl, Ntombencane practiced farming. At school she studied agriculture and learned to love the subject. Now 32 years old, Ntombencane’s dream of being a farmer is finally coming true thanks to Heifer’s supporters. Ntombencane has her own vegetable garden, 31 chickens and the skills and support needed to build her small farming business.
Heifer International South Africa (Heifer) is a community development organisation that uses agricultural-based interventions to help poor families end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. Heifer provides seeds, trees, farm animals and training to appropriately identified poor households. This support enables rural men and women to build their own small farming business so that they can begin to earn an income and feed their families, and in turn create, much needed jobs in agriculture with the vulnerable, such as women and youth.
Ntombencane Ngwekazi (32) lives in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa with her family. In 2011, she joined Heifer’s Sukuma Poultry Project and began attending training. “I have acquired a lot of knowledge that will help me to be a small farmer as I wish,” she says.
After training, Ntombencane received vegetable seedlings and fruit tree saplings with which to develop her homestead garden. She planted potatoes, spinach and cabbage on her 20m2 plot.
Once her family was enjoying the regular access to healthy vegetables, she turned her attention to chicken farming. Ntombencane built her own chicken shelter with advice and assistance from Heifer. Finally, after months of preparation, she received her chickens. “Now I have something to do, because I’m having chickens I have a lot of work to do in my home. I’m very happy to be a member of the project,” she says.
Ntombencane’s journey in becoming a successful smallhold farmer has just begun. “I wish I can have my own small business and produce eggs for the community,” she says. Heifer plans to support Ntombencane and all the other members, including the youth, of the Sukuma Poultry Project to make this dream come true. To this end, we are thrilled to report that they are already, in the short time since this project began, benefiting from their hard work and the help of Heifer’s supporters. “I thank Heifer for giving us such a good opportunity of being small farmers in our community,” says Ntombencane.