Small-scale Philippi farmer on a mission to employ and empower others

Yonela Mazaleni clears the land set aside for a vegetable garden in Philippi. Pic: Supplied

Yonela Mazaleni clears the land set aside for a vegetable garden in Philippi. Pic: Supplied

Published Jun 11, 2024


Cape Town - A small-scale pig farmer operating from an informal settlement in Philippi is appealing for support as she also works to up-skill and empower others.

Yonela Mazaleni, 32, from the Vlei, is now on a mission to create a vegetable garden so that other residents from the settlement can benefit, either through job creation or assisting with food demands.

“I started the project in April this year. I farm pigs, and now I want to plough veggies. My aim in this project is to grow and create employment for my community,” she said.

“I grew up in the Eastern Cape, in a family that loved farming and when we went to town to do groceries we never bought veggies because we had them.”

Mazaleni requires several items such as a wheelbarrow, shovels, picks, forks, fencing, planks, pliers, nails, manure and seedlings.

“I would love for anyone who can, to please support me with anything the person has, especially with garden tools.

“Second-hand items are welcome.

“I’m not asking for money, but support from the community,” Mazaleni said.

After transforming the area from a dump into something usable, she has already designated the portion of land she will be using for farming.

“In that space, they used to dump rubbish because in the Vlei there are no flushable toilets. I had to clean it up first,” Mazaleni said.

Khaya Burwana, a beneficiary of the Expanded Public Works Programme’s entrepreneurship training programme, said with the right support small-scale farmers can achieve their goals.

In 2021, Burwana founded his small-scale farming enterprise in Mfuleni.

He said: “It is important that you also offer support to the community and that is where you build that support. In terms of the support we get it also helps us grow with the business.”

According to Burwana, one of the difficulties small-scale farmers face most frequently is breaking into the market.

“I know some people that have backyard gardens and they don’t have direct access to the market,” he said.

Mazaleni continues to farm with her eight piglets in the meantime.

She said she would continue to support her community while she also works on accomplishing her dream of owning a pork butchery.

If you can assist Yonela in her mission, you can reach her on 0691984710.

[email protected]

Cape Argus