Grow Farm

Pretoria young farmer, farms cucumbers for fresh produce market

Khutso Njenga became part of TechFarma in 2018, where he produces cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes in greenhouse tunnels. His farm is 24 hectares in size.

Khutso cultivates his produce using the hydroponic system – a method used to grow vegetables in a water based, nutrient rich solution. “Each tunnel is 300 square meters and has approximately 700 plants.”

A daily task for Khutso is to check the water for pH levels and plants for insects. “We check our water daily to make sure that our electrical conductivity (EC) and pH (potential of Hydrogen) levels are correct.”

On Wednesdays, Khutso and his team harvest 3,750 cucumbers and delivers them to the Fresh Produce Market in Tshwane.

“I became a farmer to create jobs for others, and to make sure people have access to fresh, nutritious, and affordable vegetables. This is also what I love about farming as I get to wake up every day and know that I produced good food for others.”

Khutso currently employs four permanent and two part-time staff.

One stereotype Khutso has come across is that “people assume that farming or to be a farmer is easy”.

Khutso is part of the 2019 SAB Urban Agriculture Programme, and hopes to gain an understanding of how to access the corporate market.

Now in its second year, the Urban Agriculture Programme invests in high potential farming businesses, by integrating technology solutions that will grow the businesses and create lasting employment.

The 15-month business development programme provides participants with technical and operational training, hydroponic infrastructure investment, industry-based mentorship, as well as market access.

Other

  • Something from your entrepreneur journey: You will come across many challenges along the way, but it is important to never give up.
  • What drives you and motivates you as an entrepreneur? Being able to create employment opportunities for youth.
  • What advice do you want to give other entrepreneurs and people who want to become entrepreneurs in the urban farming space? Work hard and always focus on the important things. If you want to be an entrepreneur or farmer, just start and I guarantee you will learn along the way.
  • When you are not at work, what pastimes do you enjoy? I enjoy listening to music and playing chess.

Source: SAB

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