With Covid-19 lock down having affected many businesses negatively, in this case, Covid-19 couldn’t have come sooner for the young Langalokuthula Msongelwa, who managed to start a farming business.
The 26-year-old farmer from Eastern Cape Bizana town in Matwebu, studying Information Technology (business analysis) at Walter Sisulu University, because of errors that resulted in the failure of his NSFAS application, Msongelwa did not manage to register as planned but instead took a gap year.
While at home worried about not getting funding for school, Msongelwa decided to start farming in August 2020, after deliberating with his father who advised him that farming “is a business that will never collapse, reason being food will forever be needed by people.” he said. He added on to say his father gave him the motive to start, telling him that farming is life and enjoyable.
Langalokuthula Msongelwa started with 7 000 seedlings of spinach and 500 seedlings of cabbage with the hopes of making money selling off the vegies. “Every day its work day, I enjoy my social life by posting my work on social media platforms and helping other people who are still struggling to start farming.” He explained. He gets his inspiration from a friend of his who’s selling his own brand O.T.F (one team fam) since 2013, with no one helping the friend grow the business. His friend would say funding will meet him ahead while growing his business.
His aim was just to sell around the community and street venders, but little did he know that he would end up supplying for big familiar names such as Superspar and Boxer. Regardless he also sells to street venders and to the community. Not only did the business give him financial freedom, but it also created job opportunities, however he is not satisfied as it gives people temporary jobs as his business is seasonal. He dedicates all his time working on the farm but still manages to make time for studying.
Msongelwa believes farming is for everyone, one just needs to know what they are doing. “We as black people we undermine farming, thinking it’s for the poor of which is not and people will forever need food. If we can all start our businesses, we can stop poverty and create job opportunities for one another while also elevating the economy of the country.” He added.
His advice for the young generation is “to stop smelling the coffee and start drinking it, dreaming without doing anything is useless.” He said it is easy to start farming, all one needs is to start in your back yard with less than 100 seedlings.
As an emerging farmer, his greatest wish is to be funded by any organization, to assist him with proper fencing, machinery and to also manage to transport the produce as he’s currently using his father’s car and sometimes hires one. Msongelwa says he is in dire need of support; however, the Department of Agriculture has supported him by providing him seedling and fertilizers.
Msongelwa would like to see himself as a commercial farmer who will one day own hectors, being able to supply big stores such as Clicks, Shoprite and others. His aim is to grow, as he always invests his profit into the business.