UJ student’s farming project clinches top spot at 2019 Student Leadership Summit

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UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Therefore, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA’s) Annual Student Leadership Summit (SLS) this year challenged BCom CA-stream accounting students from around the country to come up with community-based solutions in aid of global goals. Bonginkosi Kalipa’s Team3 Farm project from the University of Johannesburg won the competition.

According to Kalipa most of the rural communities in the Eastern Cape have large amounts of undeveloped arable land, yet many people in these areas live in poverty. Communities are dependent on government grants for their survival because of unemployment and since they lack formal education, residents of these communities find themselves unemployable, which perpetuates hunger and makes them vulnerable to diseases as lack of proper nutrition remains a problem in these areas.

“It’s these problems that I sought to address through Team3 Farm.Team3 exists to bridge this gap between poverty, hunger and conflict by utilizing dormant land to produce vegetables and use this product to earn an income to uplift the community’s standard of living,” explains Kalipa. He grew up poverty-stricken home with a single parent who struggled to make ends meet. He was the only boy who passed matric and proceeded to go to a university amongst his peers, yet despite these hardships, The BCom CA-stream Accounting student believed that the key out of the shackles of poverty was education and work and so he pursued both from a young age.

He started the Team3 Farm project on a very small scale while still in Grade 11. The project provides employment for three communities members and has secured around 200 square meters of latent community property on which it plants different vegetables. In addition, Team3 Farm project also gives the local rural community of Ngcobo access to cheap vegetables, and also sells its fresh produce to schools, clinics and the All Saints Hospital to assist with the various feeding schemes that exist in the region.” Our goal is to ultimately use all of the available arable lands in my village to create more jobs and produce for the area. In the long-term, we hope to replicate the system throughout villages in the Eastern Cape that have similar land profiles. Once these hectares are put back into use, the communities will have something to trade. That’s how new local economies begin,” says Kalipa


“As the world embraces purpose, ethics and sustainability as the new norm, the practical application and measurement of their intent have one North Star: the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Which is exactly why the world’s future business leaders need to focus on sustainability before anything else as early in their careers as possible,” says SAICA Project Director for University Projects and the organizer of the SLS, Teboho Moephudi. She added that the judges struggled to narrow the high calibre of entries to five teams, who came to Johannesburg to pitch their ideas to a panel of esteemed business leaders.” Bonginkosi showed his passion for sustainability and determination to change his community and the world for the better,” says Moephudii

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