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INTERVIEW

Agriculture House Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Myeni explains how this agribusiness development company is giving small-scale farmers access to markets. Please explain your business proposition.

CEO Sifiso Myeni

BIOGRAPHY Sifiso is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at Agriculture House. His role is to drive strategy, investment decisions of the company, stakeholder relations and new business. He is responsible for sector intelligence, due diligence, transaction structuring and quality assurance. He has vast experience in the agricultural sector, having worked for companies such as Old Mutual Masisizane Fund, as the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Manager and as the Head of the Agribusiness Development Department.

Agriculture House is a 100% black-owned specialist agribusiness development company established in 2007. Its core business has four divisions: • Consulting services in agribusiness value chain development. This includes but is not limited to: assessment of agricultural projects; turnaround strategies for farms and agribusinesses including asset management; due diligence; business planning and implementation; feasibility studies; sector intelligence; project implementation and monitoring; social facilitation and policy analysis and formulation. • Skills transfer and mentorship. This includes AgriSETA-accredited training offered through strategic partners. • Investments in our own farms and agri-processing factories. • Access to markets for small-scale vegetable farmers. Agriculture House currently buys fresh produce from small-scale farmers to supply to various customers. This programme was established to increase AgriHouse’s fresh produce supply capacity and to provide access to market for small-scale farmers who cannot independently access formal markets. Most of the farmers are in Jozini and surrounding areas. How do you close the gap between commercial operations associated with large food value chains and small-scale farmers? Firstly, Agriculture House has identified access to market, inadequate skills and lack of production resources as major challenges facing small-scale farmers. Our contribution in resolving these challenges: • We are a market for small-scale farmers for fresh produce (vegetables) and eggs. We started in Jozini, Makhathini, eNdumo, Mhlabuyalingana and eThekwini (mainly egg farmers) and we are planning to expand to other areas in the province. • We are now exploring ways of improving the quality of fresh produce from these farmers. We have to put a production schedule in place for all farmers under our scheme, we have to train them, and we also have to provide production inputs. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is very supportive. How do you measure success? Our success is measured in three ways. Firstly, we have to be a profitable and sustainable business. Secondly, our customers must be satisfied with our products and services. Finally, when the farmers we seek to empower are running profitable small-scale farms.

KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2018/19

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KwaZulu-Natal Business 2018/19  

The 2018/19 edition of KwaZulu-Natal Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2008, has es...

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2018/19  

The 2018/19 edition of KwaZulu-Natal Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2008, has es...

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