By: Sizakele Nduli
The owner of Smeja’s Fresh Harvest piggery never expected that she would eventually have a pig farm when she purchased her first pigs. Zintle James, who runs the small-scale farm from her yard in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, makes a profit from selling pigs and processed and packaged pork. She mostly sells to people in her community and surrounding areas. “Back in 2020, me and my mom bought two pigs. So, at first, we didn’t buy the pigs for project purposes, but we just wanted to have pigs at home,” James told Vutivi News.
“As time went by, I fell in love with pig farming (and) then decided to start the project. In 2021, I bought two more pigs, the Landrace breed, which then had 20 piglets from those that I bought.” James, 24, also received funding from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), which has assisted her to grow her business. “I applied for the NYDA funding and I was funded with R45,000 and I was then able to get (a) commercial breed. I bought seven pigs and 35 bags of feed as well as medication for the pigs.”
She said while the piggery did not make enough profits to hire employees, she did have a casual worker who assisted in slaughtering the pigs and castrating male piglets to avoid boar taint, which is a foul-smelling odour and flavour in the meat. “At the moment since the project is still small, I don’t have any employees. For now, I am still working with my mother and brother.” James’ passion for business goes beyond just succeeding as an individual small-scale pig farmer. Her piggery also came about because she wants to help curb unemployment in her community, particularly amongst the youth.
As a human resource management graduate who struggled to find employment herself, she said that creating job opportunities was one of her biggest dreams. Despite being confronted with the rising cost of pig feed and not having suitable shelters for the piglets, which are not as hardy as adults, the business is still going strong. She also has a vegetable garden and chickens that help bring in money. “My advice for the youth is that farming is not only for the old people. If you have a business idea to start farming, then do it. Ups and downs will be there but remember why you started. There are also funding opportunities, but you need to start with what you have. Funding must find you on the way,” James said.