- SD Farmlink allows members to invest in a stokvel package; in return, you will receive resources and livestock to start a farm business of your own.
- Members of the SD Farmlink can also receive mentorship on how to run their start-up, branding, and enter the market.
- The company, based in the Eastern Cape, offers five packages to choose from; you can receive money, pigs, chickens, seeds, and vaccines.
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You can get livestock, vaccines, and seedlings from this crowdfunding enterprise to help start your farm in rural Flagstaff, Eastern Cape.
Raised in an environment of agricultural labour Sinethemba Dleke, born in Butterworth, began farming poultry and vegetables as a project in between jobs. On his 15 hectare farm in Flagstaff, he produces spinach, cabbage, green peppers, and potatoes which he supplies to local wholesaler Zama Zama, Spar, and school nutrition projects.
The farmer has helped over 1,000 people start their farming businesses through his crowdfunding company SD Farmlink.
The most popular investment plan is their poultry plan the 'Emerald Club', you can look to receive, 200 egg layers, five bags of feed, three drinkers, two feeders, and two infrared lights.
Their livestock investment plan, 'The Platinum Club' gets you 10 sheep or goats or 20 piglets, three bricks of hay, and five bags of bran and vaccines.
Their 'Gold Club' plan gets you 3,000 seeds of spinach and cabbage or 10 bags of potato seeds, two bags of fertilizer, weed poison, and disinfectants.
Stokvels, or crowdfunding, serve as clubs where groups of people join together and invest a fixed amount of money. Common to many South Africans stokvels can be an alternative way to either invest and receive cash in lump sums, or products over some time. They vary from grocery stokvels, burial societies, and the most common are those where lump sums are paid out on a rotational basis.
After experiencing the challenges of starting his farm, Dleke expanded his idea of farming and opted to start his stokvel, SD Farmlink in 2020. The aim is for people to benefit either financially or to receive crops or livestock from either of the listed plans.
Similar to Dleke's investment plan is RMI and Woolworths-backed crowdfarming, Livestock Wealth, started by Ntuthuko Shezi, assists farmers to grow or maintain their assets until they are ready for the market. This crowdfarming gives you the option to invest in macadamia nut trees, pregnant cows, or free-range oxen.
Dleke tells Business Insider South Africa that he believes crowdfarming is an untapped market, but also is unregulated and reinforces the importance of being aware of who you entrust your money to. "In the communities, people are in crowdfarming, but with people they know," he says, this then is easier to ensure security measures. The enterprise has assisted people with a limited educational background or none at all.
The Flagstaff-based farmer is a firm believer that the youth and women need to be empowered to enter the agriculture sector. Investing in the stokvel doesn't only mean access to resources, but also the chance to be taught how to run your start-up successfully under their mentorship programme.
With his knowledge and experience in marketing and sales, the entrepreneur Dleke can help young farmers how to understand the market and learn how to brand their products.
Starting a farm, Dleke explains, is not easy and can be very costly if you are not afforded the capital, resources, production, and or irrigation.