About the business
The Timbali Technology Incubator identified a gap in the market to supply baby vegetables and herbs to Woolworths through Fresh-to-Go (FTG), who was importing herbs from Kenya. The incubator did a viability and sustainability costand- benefits analysis, acquired resources (infrastructure, capital, marketing, labour) and gave Nonhlanhla Ngomane and other trainee farmers the opportunity to start herb farming businesses. Nonhlanhla entered pre-incubation in the incubator’s new amaSpice Cluster in August 2011 and, since her first basil herb production in September 2011, has been harvesting basil three times a week to deliver to Woolworths.
Challenges to grow the herb farming businesses in the incubator included access to funding, systems to address production and supply chain-related challenges (harvestto- market processes), SABS accreditation to attract clients, equipment to improve efficiency and mentorship in crop management.
Seda interventions and support
Timbali used Eskom funding to install a cold storage facility and start a Global Gap pack house for the herbs grown in the amaSpice cluster. This ensured that all produce are packed on-site to complete the supply chain to Woolworths. Through Seda’s STP, which is one of Timbali’s funders, the incubator assisted the trainee farmers with management systems, technical know-how, business management skills and access to loan finance and commodities.
The incubation provided an enabling environment for the trainee farmers to:
- replace about 70% of basil imports from Kenya into South Africa
- reduce rejections and increase the consistency of supplying Woolworths (via FTG) with herbs and baby vegetables
- access a Global Gap-accredited pack house - a requirement to enter niche markets
- learn and develop whilst producing.