Sihle Ntozini only started farming three years ago but with his passion, determination and dedication, he has transformed a fallow piece of land into a thriving small farm in East London that employs six people and supplies fresh produce to two leading retailers in the area.

The cornerstones of his success? Hard work and his Husqvarna Tiller.

“I lost my job in 2020 due to COVID so when my grandfather challenged me to farm the land he owned next to the Mdantsane area where we live, I decided to give it a try,” says Ntozini.

Relying on the farming experience of his grandfather and his own entrepreneurial spirit, he registered the 1.2 ha piece of land as a farming enterprise called Buffalo City Gardens. Clearing the land manually proved to be difficult so he initially started by planting small patches of vegetable crops such as cabbage and spinach. However, demand grew quickly, and Ntozini soon realised he would need to expand his operation to offer his customers a more extensive basket of produce.

The Expo that changed everything

“In September 2022, I attended the AGRI 5 Commodities Expo in East London and it opened my eyes to several opportunities,” Ntozini elaborates. “The real game changer was meeting Riaan Kromhout at the Husqvarna stand where he demonstrated the TF 545D Tiller. I immediately knew this was the tool I needed to make the step-change required on my farm.”

Determined to turn his vision into reality, Ntozini secured funding from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to acquire the tiller and today, this versatile piece of equipment has become the linchpin of his newfound success. Using the tiller, he has managed to cultivate and transform all of his farmland and has successfully increased production. He has also diversified his crops to include bananas and more recently, potatoes.

Commitment to Emerging Farmers

According to Pieter Smuts, the Managing Director of Husqvarna South Africa, Ntozini’s TF 545D Tiller is part of the company’s comprehensive range of quality outdoor equipment specifically designed for light agriculture. Focusing on durability, ease of use and precision, the range includes lawn tractors, chainsaws, tillers and lawn and garden tools aimed at increasing productivity, improving efficiency and ultimately contributing to sustainable food production.

“Emerging farmers like Sihle Ntozini are at the heart of South Africa’s food supply. Their dedication is a cornerstone of local food security, so we’ve made sure that our range of light agricultural equipment supplies these farmers with all the required tools to cultivate their land and maintain and harvest their crops,” says Smuts

Bridging the Gap

While this equipment is readily available, Smuts notes that one of the greatest challenges is reaching emerging farmers to ensure they have all the support they need. “Their farms can be very remote so events such as AGRI 5, where we met Sihle, are proving to be invaluable.”

AGRI 5 is the brainchild of Tsholo Mokobe, the Managing Director of Atone Works. He says the annual event serves as a platform for connecting local farmers, politicians and the private sector – with a shared objective to foster growth in South Africa’s emerging farming community.

“Introducing Sihle to the Husqvarna range of tools is exactly what AGRI 5 was designed to achieve. It’s all about being a bridge between small-scale farmers and the resources they need to thrive,” states Mokobe.

A Bright Future

Ntozini’s success shows how the right equipment combined with determination and support, can lead to a thriving farming business that not only delivers fresh produce but also brings economic opportunities to the community.

His journey highlights the pivotal role of farmers and the products and services companies such as Husqvarna are able to offer them.