Never give up, farmer tells en­trepreneurs

Vuk'uzenzele - - Rural Development And Land Reform - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

loy­iso Pepeta, for­mer chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Ingquza Hill Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, al­ways knew that he would have his own busi­ness one day. Which is why, when he heard that a Kok­stad farm was on the mar­ket in 2012, he took a leap of faith and re­signed from his job.

His farm, Cop­per­field, has a dairy with 146 Jer­sey cows that pro­duce 2 500 litres of milk a day, as well as 226 cows for beef pro­duc­tion. The farm sup­plies Spar, Rhino Su­per­mar­kets and whole­salers across KwaZulu-Natal and the East­ern Cape with milk, maas and yo­ghurt.

It started with 10 em­ploy­ees but now has 36 per­ma­nent staff mem­bers.

Pepeta said his jour­ney would not have been pos­si­ble without a R4 mil­lion busi­ness loan from the Ithala Devel­op­ment Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion. “The loan helped me to buy the farm, ma­chines and cows.”

He also in­vested his re­tire­ment money in the busi­ness. “I had no choice but to make it work.”

Farm­ing takes ded­i­ca­tion

The busi­ness, like any other busi­ness, has its own chal­lenges, he said, adding that the most press­ing is ac­quir­ing more land to al­low them to keep more cows and in­crease their out­put.

“To meet de­mand from our clients, we need to pro­duce at least 15 000 litres of milk a day but be­cause we are so far off the mark, we end up buy­ing raw milk from other farms to meet the de­mand,” he said.

With re­gards to the beef pro­duc­tion, the farm sells more than 150 cows a year. He plans to have his own abat­toir to sup­ply di­rectly to the shops.

Farm­ing, he notes, is not for peo­ple without ded­i­ca­tion be­cause you have to work seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Pepeta’s ad­vice to young en­trepreneurs is sim­ple: “Don’t be afraid to take big risks. The big­ger the risk, the higher the re­turns.

“Never give up when you are fac­ing chal­lenges. Chal­lenges are not there to kill you but to strengthen your abil­i­ties.”

Loy­iso Pepeta sup­plies su­per­mar­kets and whole­salers across KwaZu­luNatal and the East­ern Cape with dairy milk, maas and yo­ghurt.

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