“I was never trained in farming, but through World Vision’s capacity-building workshops, I am now an expert!"
These are the words of 28-year-old farmer, Dumisani Dlamini who lives in one of the coverage areas of World Vision's Maseyisini Area Programme. He supplies to fruits and vegetable shops, street vendors and the local community with his produce and says he is "never broke". "As such, I proudly maintain my family with everything and I always have cash”, he says.
Dumisani was only 22 years old in 2016 when he developed a passion for farming, after the demise of his father. He was forced to move back home to look after his mother who was now alone. Dumisani's cousin is a farmer, whom he visited one day and became fascinated by the art of gardening. It was then suggested that Dumisani also tries his hand at it.
Try it out, he did. That same year, Dumisani planted 2,000 cabbages. This was during a time when the country was going through an El Niño drought, resulting in food shortages. So the cabbages were certainly in high demand. He says: “After selling most of my produce, I received about E8,000 (equivalent to USD 533) and I was able to buy fencing for my own garden and irrigation pipes.”
Dumisani adds that World Vision came along and provided him the necessary skills, which helped him discover everything he needed to know about vegetable farming and securing markets. “I will forever be grateful to World Vision for the skills I have acquired and helping me ensure that all my produce is consumed by the market”, he elaborates.
Currently, Dumisani is growing lettuce for the fruit and vegetable Shop in Nhlangano Town. He is also growing 4,000 broccoli and cornflower seedlings, which will be ready in mid-August. He will sell these at E9.00 per head to the National Marketing Board (NAMBOARD). NAMBOARD facilitates markets for farmers in and out of the country. It further assists farmers with production, processing, storage, transportation and distribution of the produce.
World Vision has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NAMBOARD to create more market for farmers, funded by or through the organisation.
According to Dumisani, what is good with NAMBOARD is that "you get all the money at once after approximately seven days". With the money he has been getting from farming, he has been able to maintain his family, got married to his wife and is currently paying rent and buying food for his wife, who is studying a paramedics course in Mbabane.
Recently, Dumisani has started engaging the unemployed youth in his community and empowering them to use unused fields in their homesteads and start farming because the market is available. “Going into farming is the best decision I have ever made!", he says. "At this stage, I do not see myself in employment as I am now my own boss. I would never exchange this for any employment.”
Dumisani's biggest dream is to expand his garden and hire young unemployed youth in his community and mentor them.