Up Close and Personal with Dineo Mokgoshi

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Never underestimate the power of networking. I learn a lot by interacting with other female farmers.

LOOKING BACK, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

I would immediately have started with layers immediately, instead of cattle and broilers. I would eventually have bought livestock eventually, but if I had started with layers, I would have been further down the road by now.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?

Reaching the point I’m at without much support from government.

WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS?

My husband! He’s been hugely supportive and helps me all the time.

WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO GET FINANCING? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR FARMERS WHO ARE STARTING OUT?

It’s a battle I am still fighting today. My advice: if you are employed, don’t quit your job immediately to go into farming. Start farming part time and invest in your growth for at least three years. You will need your salary to keep you going while you grow your farming business.

HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBOURING COMMUNAL FARMERS?

Honestly, not that good.

DO INPUT SUPPLIERS PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR BUSINESS?

Apart from the odd bottle of wine, calendar, box of chocolates or branded T shirt, nothing much ever comes from them.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE?

Speak to real farmers before formulating programmes and policies. I don’t think officials have a grasp of how farming works.

HOW IMPORTANT HAS ORGANISED AGRICULTURE, LIKE SAPA OR AFASA, BEEN TO YOUR SUCCESS?

Very imporant. I have made a lot of contacts through organised agriculture. When I started farming, I was told about the importance of networking. I have been fortunate, through organised agriculture, to have met other farmers, especially female farmers, who have played a significant role in my business.

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