From humble beginnings to established farmer and entrepreneur

Johannesburg – It is said that farming is all about being patient, you cannot hurry the crops or produce an ox in two days.

Ms Anna Matote Mavula, the proud owner of Mavula Enterprises says patience has played a big part in growing her business from humble beginnings to where it is today.

Ms Mavula began her business, as a reseller, buying vegetables in Brits, in the North West Province and selling them at Daveyton in Gauteng.

She soon realised the potential of the vegetable market to be profitable and lucrative. This realisation planted the seed for her to venture into farming on a full-time basis.

She first purchased the 23-hectare Zoutpansdrift farm through the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme of the former Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), and a few implements.

In 2009, she started farming and thereafter leased a further 13 hectares from (DRDLR) in 2011, bringing to 36 hectares, the extent of arable land at her disposal to produce vegetable crops.

A partnership with her daughter Tshilidzi Mavula, following the passing of her husband in 2015, has seen her business grow significantly, to where she now supplies fresh produce to both the formal and informal markets. Mavula produces 1000 bags of butternut from 3.5 ha,10000 bunches of spinach weekly, 220 bags of beetroot and 1200 bunches of spring onion/hector, 640 bags of 20 kg of sweet potatoes, 30 crates of green pepper and 15000 bunches of Chinese and Rape spinach weekly.

Some of her clients include Greenbuds Agro-Processing, Losperfontein Prison, St Catherine Primary School, St Theresa high school and, establishments such as restaurants and game lodges. She counts the Murema Fruit and Vegetable Market among her proudest achievements.

The Market was established and built by Mavula with funding she secured from the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development, through its Recapitalisation and Development Progamme.

The market serves vegetable hawkers in the Rustenburg area, who as a result, are no-longer forced to travel over 100 kilometres to the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market to buy fresh vegetables for re-selling.

The business has created 9 permanent jobs and 17 seasonal jobs, 18 of her staff are youth women, whom she says are hardest hit by unemployment in her community.

According to Mavula, the Corona Virus Pandemic has had a devastating impact on her community, leaving some families without adequate nutritious food, due to job losses owing to a strained economic environment.

As a result, she donates fresh vegetable to poor families, a local primary school and a non-profit organization among others.

She dreams of expanding her business further, purchasing a bigger farm and selling her produce to the international market.

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