Growing up, Zanele Twala of Pink is Green Enterprise, dreamt of becoming a lawyer. However, in the long run, she changed to agriculture and entrepreneurship as subjects.
Sustainable farming practices
This choice have brought many dividends as today, Twala is a budding and young female farmer in Gauteng. This new generation of farmers use their land, not only to address food security and ensure sustainable practises, but also aligng it with global efforts to mitigate the increasing negative impacts of global warming. Twala initially worked as a labourer at one of the local small farms and learnt the ropes, gaining much needed practical experience.
Launching her own enterprise
When Twala felt she knew enough to start her own farm, Pink is Green Enterprise was established in Hammanskraal in 2017. She recalled her great grandmother as a seasoned and astute informal farmer who planted sunflowers, owned goats and pigs on the same piece of land Tswala is operating from. This served as inspiration and gave her a solid base from which to launch her own farming project.
Sound financial decisions are hugely important
Twala also made sure she did not require large capital outlays and investment to get her project off the ground. She started by growing and selling cabbages and used the profits to purchase two pigs. She says she always wanted to farm with goats and pigs. “Since the beginning of my farm career, I have wanted to raise livestock since I enjoy working with them. I decided to keep growing cabbage as I knew I would have to prune it and could use the leaves to feed the livestock,” she says.
Pigs are money spinners
Although she performs most duties on the farm by herself, Twala also provides jobs for six seasonal employees from the area. She says one of her most difficult tasks is when she has to slaughter a goat or pig. However, she learnt to be dispassionate because she understands it is about business. Even though goats and the cabbages sell well, pigs are very popular and bring in good business “because people love pork meat and a lot of young people are now venturing into piggeries so we also sell them for breeding purposes.”
The challenge with pigs according to Twala is that they are not reliable mothers. “Dealing with the untimely death of my animals because their mommy slept on top of them, is heart breaking.” Also, sometimes Twala rears a female pig for slaughter, only to find out later that it was pregnant.
Harnessing new technologies
Twala is also exploiting the power of social media and uses it to market, advertise and grow her company’s profile and client base while exploring new business opportunities. She has also mastered certain vital skills such as networking, communication, advertising and financial management.
More women needed in agriculture
Twala says she wants to see more women take up farming and agriculture. Her advice to them is that they should be brave and be clear about what they want. “It may not be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done”, advises Twala, adding “the best way to succeed is to do research, network with other farmers and believe in yourself when no one believes in you.”
She also stresses the significance of education: “If you don’t have the necessary skills and education to run a farming business and understand farming seasons, you won’t be able to run your farming business effectively.” Her future plans are to expand her operations.