Vuyisile Bhembe-Mwelase, 2021 Youth Winner (Jubukweni, Hhohho)

  • Vuyisile is a young vegetable farmer who also keeps livestock (pigs and goats) and grows coffee trees.
  • The competition has empowered her economically as she was able to expand her business through the prizes she won and the exposure it gave her.
  • Personally, it has improved her work ethic. She felt the competition gave her greater confidence and has been an encouraging force as a businesswoman, inspiring her to keep on her toes.
  • It has also allowed her room to do more to empower others. Where before her efforts were on a small scale and not always successful. She has now been able to start an empowerment and mentorship program consisting of 76 farmers. She gets to work with others, including past winner Baluleka Mavuso, to train and motivate farmers.
  • Initially she feared being judged for stepping out of her comfort zone, however now she is more motivated work harder and push her business.
  • The competition has opened her to new markets which are more willing to assist her. Further she has gained a sisterhood of farmers she can learn from and share information with where need be.
  • In late 2021, when she thought the weather was good for growing crops, a hailstorm destroyed 20,000 of her green peppers. Another time her crops were left floating in the water after a serious flood. These extreme weather conditions have made her eager to learn about climate smart agriculture and how to become more climate resilient.
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