MOSELE LEPHEANE, 36, CEO OF MOS M FARM

True Love - - CELEBRATING LIFE -

The Free State-born en­trepreneur ven­tured into farm­ing fol­low­ing 15 years in the mar­ket­ing sec­tor. She founded Mos M Farm in 2015.

What drew you to agri­cul­ture? I wanted to make more money, and I came across pig breed­ing when I was do­ing my re­search. It has a quick turn­around, un­like other live­stock. I found farms that were avail­able from the govern­ment and gave it a try. I was also for­tu­nate to marry some­one who has a wealth of agri­cul­tural knowl­edge. He wasn’t re­ally a farmer but we got into it to­gether, and bought pigs and land in the Free State. What does it mean to be an agripreneur?

There are many risks in­volved. For in­stance, we lost a lot of pigs due to the lis­te­rio­sis out­break. Be­ing an en­trepreneur means ris­ing above your strug­gles and cre­at­ing wealth from what­ever it is you do.

What has the jour­ney been like? We are in a com­mu­nal land space – we de­vel­oped it our­selves and built proper struc­tures for the pigs. We also re­ceived sup­port from the govern­ment. In 2015, we had 10 pigs, and now we own 400 and 15 stys. We now breed our own stock. We even have six per­ma­nent staff mem­bers. We sell the pigs as full car­casses to abat­toirs and butcheries, and now we want to pro­duce pork our­selves. I also want to buy our own land. What chal­lenges do you face as a black woman in agri­cul­ture? The meat busi­ness is about qual­ity and the stan­dard of meat; when you show up at a meet­ing, peo­ple as­sume the stan­dard is poor just be­cause I’m black. I com­pete with a lot of white-owned com­pa­nies, so I’m al­ways prov­ing that I do things by the book. Ad­vice to women who want to be farm­ers?

Do your re­search and think big – don’t limit your­self to South Africa.

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