CAPE TOWN. – Anna Phosa is a multiple award-winning entrepreneurs and the only female black commercial pig farmer in South Africa.
She will be a keynote speaker when 1000 Women Trust, in collaboration with Pick ‘n Pay, hosts a series of webinars in August 2021 to kick-start the 1000 Women Restart initiative in order to empower women economically.
Phosa will be one of the speakers on 11th August on the theme of Self-confidence.
The no-nonsense business owner was not born with a silver spoon in the mouth, and she did not inherit a fortune from her father, grandfather, or great grandparents.
Overcoming hardships, setbacks, and the depressing comments of nay-sayers who questioned her ability to be a successful pig farmer, she won the day thanks to her indomitable spirit, hard work, perseverance, and vital assistance from Pick ‘n Pay and other key stakeholders in the small business development sector.
Phosa entered into a multi-million rand contract with Pick ‘n Pay in 2016 to supply them with 300 to 350 pigs a week, one of the highlights of her business career.
Rewind to 1989, when she was a cashier, a job she performed until 1994.
Subsequently, she also worked at the family’s hardware business.
She supplemented her income by selling vegetables from her garden.
In 2004, Phosa went to a farmer’s networking event in Zuurbekom. Although she was not familiar with pig farming, she met a Mr Mohlabi, a veteran pig farmer, who inspired her to start. He also shared one or two trade secrets with her.
She paid R1000 to buy four pigs in 2004. After the pigs were purchased, she found a plot of land in De Deur in Johannesburg South, and the business “exploded”
“I started blindly and small because I did not have the business skills. I knocked on many doors and a few were shut in my face because some would say a black woman should not be a pig farmer.
“But there were also some white farmers that gave me sound advice to help grow my business,” Phosa says.
“If somebody would ask me what the secret is to a successful business, I would say you need to have a vision and the drive to succeed. But you cannot succeed if you don’t work hard. Somebody said your feet are the fertilizer for the field, which means you need a hands-on approach. You must make your hands dirty and you cannot remote control things. You have to be there with your fellow workers,” she added.
Networking with different platforms has been part of Phosa’s success story. She approached the Vereeniging Meat Packers and started selling meat to them. She was crowned Young Farmer of the year for her work in the agricultural sector in 2006, and in 2016 she won the Standard Bank Top Woman in Agriculture award. (Source: Mail and Guardian, 24th August 2018).
In 2008, Pick ‘n Pay invited her to provide twenty pigs per week (from the abattoir) to them, and in 2010 she concluded a multi-million five-year contract with them to provide a hundred pigs per week to them.
That contract increased to 350 pigs per week from 2016 onwards.
“I will always be grateful that Pick ‘n Pay opened a window and created a space for me in terms of a market. They also have a business incubation and business development program that I have been part of, to help me to acquire new business skills,” said Phosa.
She has an inquisitive and teachable spirit – a vital component for a developing business entrepreneur – and did some short courses with the department of agriculture as well to expand her evolving knowledge.
When Phosa sealed the initial contract with Pick ‘n Pay, she needed a bigger farm and piggery to be able to honour the terms of the contract. The new farm she purchased with the assistance of Absa Bank – at a cost of more than R14 million.
Currently, the family-owned Dreamland Piggery also produces its own grain in order to feed the stock and to expand their offering to the buying market.
The farm employs 40 permanent farm workers and 10 seasonal workers. Most Dreamland piggery employees are youth from the surrounding farms and informal settlements. She mostly employs local youths in her business. She trains students who have just completed their agricultural studies and provides mentorships for those interested in business.
The farm is 318ha and has 300 sow units, an upgraded abattoir with the capacity of 100 pigs slaughter per day, and plant maize on 150 ha. (Source: Dreamland Piggery-website).
Anna is a living symbol of a woman who has never been intimidated by slogans who tried to question her quality as a top entrepreneur.
What is her message to women who have survived gender-based violence and want to make a fresh start?
“You are just as capable as a man. We as women can run businesses. If you have a dream, follow your heart. Don’t allow a man to oppress you. Don’t shy away from success.”
Women who want to join the 1000 Women Restart initiative, can do it for free by registering for the August-webinars. People who want to join the August webinars, can register on Webtickets