From a dream to a successful business
Free State farmer grows her agricultural business into a family undertaking
Her love for farming pushed her to establish her own company that produces milk and vegetables to supply businesses in the Free State and other provinces.
Former educator and the mother of three, Disebo Makatsa, founded Dee-yTrading in 2004, in which she is the managing director and a large-scale farmer in the family run business.
Born in the Free State mining town of Welkom, Makatsa’s passion for farming saw her pushing the boundaries to reach the top in the male-dominated industry, especially by whites of Afrikaans heritage. She started farming informally in 2000.
She runs Dee-y-dairy and Dee-y-veggies at a farm between Welkom and Odendaalsrus in the Free State.
Makatsa owns 66 Ayrshire cows that produce milk she processes at her dairy for her clients, which include Clover. She says she is grateful that her business is contributing to food security, employment and poverty alleviation.
“I’ve always had a passion for nature and producing food, working the soil and seeing the results is fulfilling and rewarding to a farmer. Farming, for me, is therapeutic and the way to go. The fact that it contributes to the economy of the country and is a mass creator of jobs is motivating,” she said.
Makatsa says it will be great to see women collaborate and “using our different businesses and expertise as women, we can make a great, positive impact in our communities”.
“I believe in making strides. If you look at where and when I started with farming, this tells a story.
“I’d like to see youngsters, especially women, take the baton and grow the farming industry and reinvent it with new ideas through 4IR [fourth industrial revolution] strategies,” she said.
Makatsa’s Ayrshire cattle produce more than 2000 litres of milk a month.
She said it had not been easy for her to start her business, and it has been difficult to get the project off the ground.
“It all started as a dream in 2000, at a small plot in Welkom, as I had initially commenced with growing fruit and vegetables with the aim of venturing into pig farming. However, it was not an easy move as things fell apart.
“When I started the milk supply, I would drive my bakkie and do direct sales to the Thabong people, and hard work and resilience pushed me to do
Driven by her passion to succeed in her quest and her resilience, Makatsa applied for and was given a farm in 2004, and later got another farm in Odendaalsrus, a neighbouring town of Welkom, in 2014, through the department of agriculture.
Makatsa’s business has created employment for 10 people who work at her dairy processing plant and on her farms.
She also works with her two sons, Zolile and Mxolisi, and daughter Nozipho, who holds tertiary qualifications in agriculture, marketing and business administration, which is also a great advantage in the business, and is part of the reason it is flourishing.