Patricia believes that investing in different agricultural practices not only improve poverty, but gives farmers a chance to expand through farming. Apart from growing vegetable like cabbages, spinach, onions, tomatoes and green paper in a 2 hectare farm also grows fruit tress like plums and peaches.
She also rears goats and indigenous chickens. Patricia started farming from humble beginnings in 2004 using her seed capital to venture into a smallholder Ever Green farm at eJojo in Shiselweni Region, where she have fruit trees, vegetables, indigenous chickens and goats at the moment.
The 58 year old award winner with the help of her husband Kenneth Jabulane Simelane invested close to E25 000 in their business back in 2004 for fencing, pipes, ploughing and farm inputs. Her farming passion is self-evident as she is applying the same energy to agriculture as she does to everything else. She saw the need to start farming in her area because her villages would buy fruits and vegetables outside the country of nearby towns and that is when she made sure she produced high value vegetables and fruits in demand.
Her vegetables and fruits are available in some of the Shiselweni stores at Thubelihle fruit and veg, Food town supermarket and The National Agriculture Marketing Board (NAMBoard), marking a turnover of E10 500 per year. She also sells her products, indigenous chickens and goats to individuals and has seen a growing market by selling to farmers who requires large quantities.
“Being part of the woman farmer of the year, I was able to receive all the basic ideas I needed to start a business from the little I had and that’s when I started my very own business of indigenous chickens and goats for meat production.” Says the award winner
Patricia has encountered some major challenges of water scarcity commodity in the area but Simelane was able to use watering can as part of her irrigation form preventing her products from wilting due to deficiency of water and another setback Patricia says, was a heavy storm that hit her vegetables and fruit trees and destroyed her production and she also mentioned that it’s a call of nature and very important to adapt to climate change by accepting challenges as opportunities.
In her farm Simelane uses organic farming, she normally used 2: 3: 2 (22) of organic fertiliser but as time goes by she changed to Dynafarm D.I grow green and red. She only applies the green fertiliser to leafy vegetables and the red fertiliser she uses it on limbali.
Simelane advises aspiring farmers to enter the woman farmers because she believes that any product produced is a direct response to a market need by that she got help from entering the competition.