From IT to farming sensation: Young Cape Town farmer, Khaya Burwana, is making his mark

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Grant Twigg with Khaya Burwana. supplied pic

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Grant Twigg with Khaya Burwana. supplied pic

Published Jun 23, 2024


Cape Town - In Youth month, young Cape Town farmer, Khaya Burwana is making his mark in the industry with humble beginnings starting with just 100 chickens and holds a Masters in IT.

Today, Burwana of Mfuleni owns his company, AfriKey Farming, which has earned him a seat as being one of the selected few for the City’s EPWP Entrepreneurship Training Programme which is focused on SMMEs, and has been named as one of Woolworths Youth Makers where he will be able to showcase his products inside stores and have R130 00 towards his business.

Khaya Burwana is receiving recognition for his small scale farming.pic supplied/ Facebook

The EPWP programme’s comprehensive training and development modules are provided by the University of the Western Cape and equips trainees with skills in financial management, marketing, and leadership, coupled with personalised coaching and mentorship.

Burwana was also named Poultry Farmer of the Year and received the Nature Friendly Farmer Award in 2023 as part of the Annual South African Agricultural Awards.

Speaking with the Weekend Argus, Burwana reveals he began with just 100 live chickens, today he has hundreds of chickens which produces eggs and over 300 pigs and outsources to informal traders.

What makes Burwana different from the rest he said, is using social media to sell his product and company’s vision via his platforms under the name AgriKey Farming.

“I started out in 2019 with 100 live chickens and before that I was in the IT field,” he told Weekend Argus.

“I always had a passion for farming as I grew up in the Eastern Cape and we used to look after the livestock.

“I have a Masters in IT. Now I have over 300 pigs and hundreds of chickens which produces eggs. I also have four staff members.”

Khaya Burwana is receiving recognition for his small scale farming.pic supplied/ Facebook

Burwana said he saw the gap in the market and took it.

“Informal traders can place their orders with me and everything is on social media as we are moving away from the old school.”

Through the EPWP programme, Khaya acquired essential skills in financial management, marketing, and leadership. Coupled with personalised coaching and mentorship, these tools empowered him to identify and seize growth opportunities.

According to the City, a noteworthy achievement is his collaboration with five local schools, where he grows crops on their premises in partnership with another entrepreneur who builds vertical farming infrastructure.

The partnership with schools sees 40% of the harvest directed towards school feeding schemes, and provides an opportunity for learners to gain the skills to grow their own food as well.

Burwana has successfully launched five braai meat stalls within the community, creating a local hub for fresh, locally-sourced meat products and has created employment opportunities.

Burwana’s vision and ambition is to establish a compliant abattoir to supply local stores, ensuring high standards of meat production and distribution.

“I want to thank the City of Cape Town for all the assistance. I am proud (and also brag) about being a part of this programme,” said Burwana.

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Grant Twigg said his story was one which could impact many entrepreneurs.

“Khaya’s story exemplifies how linking entrepreneurs with educational resources and support is sometimes all that is needed to unlock real economic growth. Many entrepreneurs have the potential to grow but need mentorship and training to build confidence before taking the risk of expanding the business,” he said.

In the Woolies competition, each winner receives a one-year mentorship from Woolies experts, exclusive insider information on how retail works in SA, the opportunity to market to Woolies customers, and a cash grant of more than R130 000 to grow their brands.

Burwana is also part of the Western Cape Firm as a local farmer, which has secured a lucrative R300 million deal to export chicken feet to China.

Weekend Argus