Lunathi Zake did not give up when she had money trouble after her poultry farming venture failed. Instead, she decided to plant cash crops on two hectares of municipal land, and it turned out to be a successful agriculture business.
Born and raised in East London, Eastern Cape, Zake knows a thing or two about hard times. After struggling to find employment for almost six years, Zake decided to start her own poultry business in 2021.
Back in her school days, Zake faced difficulties with many subjects, hindering her qualification for higher education and making it financially unattainable.
When she returned to school, much later as an adult, she wanted to improve her grades. During this time she started thinking about ways that she could improve her life. With just R750, she started a small poultry business.
“I felt a sense of urgency to take charge of my life and make something happen. Fortunately, farming came into mind,” she says.
Knowledge is power
Zake’s poultry business had a promising start, but she encountered challenges due to high expenses related to feed and medication. The profits she generated could not cover these costs.
Her lack of financial discipline, she admits, played a significant role in the business’s failure, and says it is important to manage finances effectively when running an agricultural venture.
“I used to use business funds for personal purposes. I’d be out of options and stressed if I had to buy the feeds.”
After shutting down her poultry business, she focused on growing potatoes and cabbages. In the initial phases of this new venture, she discovered it to be a more practical and sustainable option for her compared to poultry farming.
She now sells her produce to residents of the Santa community, including households and street vendors.
“I’ve learned that farming isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires a lot of research and knowledge.”
Giving up isn’t an option
Zaka says that she would not be where is without the help of strategic players. In 2022, she applied for a Pesi voucher, a programme offered by the department of agriculture, and her application was approved in August 2023.
“The department informed me that I could collect the items they had purchased for me at their office in Mdantsane. The items purchased for me included a 50 litre JoJo tank, seeds, fertiliser, and gardening tools. These items have improved my livelihood as a new farmer,” she explains.
In addition, she has received support from the Buffalo City Municipality for which she is grateful. Training in business management through the National Youth Development Agency in 2022 has also helped her a great deal.
Zake is ready to have another go at livestock farming. Her goal is to become a reliable supplier of fresh meat to local butcheries and to provide catering services for events.
“My ultimate goal is to become a successful farmer and contribute to my community by providing high-quality meat products.”
She also sees potential for Zake Farms to supply major supermarkets and to produce seeds for sale. Zake Farms is ready to take the world by storm.
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