A lack of opportunities pushed Siviwe Sulani to decide to start a business. He had land and some capital that he knew he could source from a savings group.
Sulani (27) lives in a village near Matatiele, Eastern Cape with his parents and three siblings. He joined the group in December 2019 as part of a plan to start small-scale farming. After completing his matric it had not been easy to further his studies, but he had attended short courses offered by the Department of Agriculture where he had seen an opportunity to start a business.
In December 2020 his business, Agri Mgebe, was born. That year he had invested R6000 with the savings group and received a share-out of R10 414 with the interest earned on his shares. He invested that money in his business, purchasing inputs which included 42 layers, 1 500 cabbage seedlings and 1 000 spinach seedlings.
The department of Agriculture assisted him with feed for his layers which took a lot of pressure off him.
Sulani registered for SaveAct’s Income Generating Activity (IGA ) programme and received training in recordkeeping. He said this helped him a lot as he now knows that he made a profit of R550 with spinach and now that it’s winter people are purchasing quite a lot of cabbage. He can track which commodity does better and when. He is also learning that some of the commodities do better at different times of the year. He says the record-keeping has also helped him to plan better for the coming cycles.
With the pandemic facing the country, he did deliveries to households in the community. As the word spread that he had fresh eggs people started putting in orders and he now delivers to more household. He says the business is growing and he now also has carrots in his garden. He sometimes struggles with demand, especially for eggs.
He said it would not have been easy to start this business if he had not joined the savings group.