The issue of Lesotho’s agriculture being perceived as subsistence will soon be the thing of the past, Agribusiness News has learned. Despite growing up in the community where agriculture is perceived as an inferior career, former Machabeng International College student, Relebohile Monethi (30), paved her own way in rough surfaces and lands a parking in Agriculture.
Morali’a Monethi Farms Pty Ltd., as the business is called was founded in December 2015. It was March 2016, when Ms Monethi registered her business to operate legally under laws of Ministry of Trade in Lesotho. The business is situated in Ha Thetsane with its farms situated in Qeme respectively. “I was fortunate enough to have parents who loved me to extend that they agreed to fund my crazy idea” Ms Monethi reckons with a big smile. Her mother funded her with not less than M15 000.00. The capital was shared among others, to erect fast food structure amounting to M7000.00, 200 broilers and 50 green peppers.
Initially, broilers were reared to supply butcheries with live chickens and individuals with slaughtered chickens, which the owner clarified that depending on the choice of the customer, she even cleaned the insides. “I wanted to take advantage of every value chain” She implied as she explains the unique of her business. All she ever wanted was to sell a co vinience. She saw the market for healthy food. Unlike many of her rivals, she slaughtered chickens and made deliveries to her customers, indeed one would not be wrong to hail Ms. Monethi idea with praises. In a stiff market for vegetables, she opted to provide market for her vegetables. Vegetables produced from her farm are used to manufacture smoothies sold at her Bonne nourriture restaurant.
“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. The people who get on in this world are people who get up and look for circumstances they, if they can’t find them, make them” Legendary Bernard Shaw once said. In the limited land for production, Ms. Monethi did not wait for a good Samaritan to give her the land, she used sacks from her broiler feed, tailored them and made home for growing her lovely vegetables.
They normally say dreams comes true if you survive hard times. Seeing Morali’a Monethi farms where it is today, one would say it is more than its scars. Like most of other businesses, the farm went through tough times. The owner indicated that her broilers business failed five times. She suspects that it was due to the fact that previously, there were individuals who used to buy on credit and take longer time to pay. These was coupled together with those who did not even bother to pay again. By that virtue, she had to divert income from other her fast food restaurant. As a result, that brought difficulty in managing finances.
The issue of expansion was also an obstacle at Morali’a Monethi farms, the boss had to resort to borrowing funds, which so far she has invested about M80 000.00 into the business. As a result the business struggled a lot in clearing debts. Despite those flock of tough times, Ms. Monethi believes that it is those challenges which has molded her to where she is today, she believes that is what defines the true entrepreneurs. She said that being in the growing business is the most painful stage she had ever been in. “This is where you see the bright side of what you are hoping for even when you are still in the darkness” Relebohile reckons.
When responding on how she overcame the challenges, she outlined that challenges do not really end, but hard work and patience are remedies for every challenge in business world. She added that there are people (2) she hired on permanent basis. By this virtue, she knows very well that there are people who depend on life of her business entirely, so during hard times, that is what re-ignites her to press on working hard, the living spirit of Ubuntu/ Batho Pele principle.
Ms. Monethi also armed herself with workshops that gave her some certification, she made example on one provided under auspices of Ministry of Trade, which contents identifying good quality fruits and vegetables, and Mandela Washington Fellowship. She emphasized that she prefers mostly workshops that provide certification.
“If you become fortunate enough to have start-up capital and wish to start a business, I would advise you do research on business type you wish to engage in. You can even try maybe to volunteer in one of successful business so that you can learn operational activities in that business” Ms. Monethi concluded.