MOSELE LEPHEANE, 36, CEO OF MOS M FARM
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.