WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
I was advised to follow my passion and take risks. This is what I have been doing all my life and it has worked for me. Not everything I tried worked though. I think my failure rate is at about 80%. But when I win, I win big. I don’t take failure personally; I just move on.
IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY, WHAT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN?
I think things have worked out how they were supposed to. I don’t think about what should or shouldn’t have happened.
WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Many people have contributed to bringing me to where I am today and singling out any one person would be unfair.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURING FARMERS AND WHAT ROLE HAVE THEY PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS?
My relationship with my neighbours is great and very important to my success. We solve problems together. I wouldn’t be where I am today without these relationships because I learned most of what I know from my neighbours.
WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO GET FINANCING AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR MONEY?
There are alternatives to conventional funding such as banks. Most of my funding had come through foundations and private initiatives that offer soft loans or grants. But these require one to be innovative, confident and have a vision in what you do.
WHAT ROLE HAVE INPUT SUPPLIERS, LIKE SEED AND CHEMICAL SUPPLY COMPANIES, PLAYED IN THE BUSINESS?
Suppliers play an important role because they know best how their products work.
IF THERE WAS A SINGLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Look at farmers who are really farming and make time to understand their issues so that any intervention is based on facts. She should look at issues such as water rights, funding, training and other barriers. There are whole lot of issues involved.