Farm grows into export business
When Busisiwe Molefe started her own farming business, she had no idea that it would flourish in the international market.
Molefe, 49, is the co-owner of BBS Farm in Port Shepstone, on the KwaZulu-Natal's south coast, which produces macadamia nuts and tomatoes and exports them to Asia, China, Europe and the US.
When Molefe started the farm she wanted to help her community get vegetables easily.
Now she is the first black female farmer from Kwa-Zulu-Natal to supply macadamias to the export market and local giant retailers.
In 2010, she entered the Female Entrepreneur Awards' commercial category and came second.
She was also recently honoured at a gala dinner hosted by Ithala Development Finance Corporation, which acknowledged exceptional business women on a public platform.
Molefe walked away with R15,000 for third place, out of 145 entries, in Ithala's Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards which is a flagship programme of the KwaZulu-Natal development agency.
"It takes hard work, passion, sacrifice and dedication. It took me six years to graduate from a subsistence producer to a qualified export farmer and meet all the requirements and standards," Molefe said.
BBS Farm employs 27 permanent and 10 seasonal workers, many of who are women and youth.
The successful farmer received training and support from the KwaZuzu-Natal department of agriculture & rural development and the Agricultural Development Agency (ADA).
She was trained through the Perishable Product Export Board Council in financial management, agribusiness and marketing, which enabled her to move into the commercial sector.
Wearing a production and marketing manager's hat at BBS Farm, she hopes to inspire other women to chase after their dreams and make a success of their lives.
"I'd like to see more women starting their own businesses and breaking through the glass ceiling in previously male-dominated industries," she said
This article first appeared in GCIS-Vuk'uzenzele