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‘This December We Will Get Our Hands Dirty’: E Cape Funds New Hemp Training Farm in Uitenhague;

Agriculture puts up R900k

Sinazo Tshaka is starting her own cannabis farm, thanks to funding from the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform. Image : Supplied by the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform


The Eastern Cape government is backing a young entrepreneur to set up a hemp training farm, set to open in December 2021. The province’s Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) says it has backed 33 year old Sinazo Tshaka to train young cannabis growers at her Uitenghague farm.

DRDAR put up R917 498 through its Isiqalo Fund for Tshaka to set up a cultivation and agro-processing facility and train 10 interns a year.

The government’s communication agency Vuk’uzenzele quoted Tshaka in its August issue:

“I am so grateful for this fund, as I took a leap of faith leaving my accounting profession to start something new.


Tshaka to focus on hemp training

“Cannabis farming includes hemp and marijuana. I focus on hemp, which does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes a person high. In agro-processing, we extract cannabidiol”.

She became interested in cannabis farming in 2017, while undertaking research as a student at Nelson Mandela University, where she studied this line of farming. Once she secured funding,


Tshaka got a farm in Elandsrivier, in Uitenhage.

“Farming is expensive, so this funding will help us a lot. We wanted to start working last year, but the Coronavirus Disease pandemic hit South Africa and we had to wait. This December, we will get our hands dirty,” she says.

Part of the deal – ongoing internships

DRDAR also helped Tshaka obtain her permit to farm cannabis; while the National Youth Development Agency helped her to access information and buy equipment.

Tshaka’s project will take in 10 graduates from agricultural schools, each year, to complete their internships in cannabis farming.

“I am going to train these young people to not look for employment, but to rather open their own enterprises so that we have more entrepreneurs,” she says.

Tshaka wants to show young people that there are many ways of making a living, other than formal employment.

“We now have a government that helps us with entrepreneurship, so as young people with ideas we need to go out and start businesses,” she says.

Tshaka encourages the youth not to fear going into career fields they didn’t study for if they are passionate and willing to work hard.


For information on the Eastern Cape DRDAR’s Isiqalo Fund, contact the department at 043 602 5006.

3 Responses

  1. Microgreens sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult to find buyers. In a rural setting it is hard to find enough people who want to buy them on a regular basis, so urban growers might actually have an advantage.

  2. Willing to work on cannabis and hemp and learn more about it. It’s great opportunity black youth we have been planting cannabis for some time but the was no support but now its a great thing for us to get opportunity. We want to learn this cannabis and hemp as farmers.

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