Jan 2024 edition

Agriculture passion turned into business

written by Lindelwa Fuku-Manjiya
Relebohile Nko is the owner and director of a small scale farming company called Manosi JRM, which is based in Bethulie in the Free State.

Relebohile Nko receiving R32 000 from DALRRD at the Female Entrepreneur Awards in 2023.The company’s journey in agriculture began in 2017 after Nko and her late husband Jackson Nko acquired a four hectare land for their enterprise. Manosi specialises in chicken broiler, crop production and livestock.

Before venturing into agriculture, Nko worked as a junior accountant. While the business was only registered in 2021, the farm was acquired in 2017.

Speaking to Vukuzenzele, she said her produce was sold depending on customer specifications, such as requesting live or slaughtered chickens.

“I started with 390 broiler chickens, 2 000 seedlings of cabbages and 1 000 seedlings of spinach. We raise the chickens from a day-old to five to six weeks. Some of the customers want them live and others want them slaughtered. The products are also sold at community shops and the community supports us a lot. The company also has 500 layer chickens for egg production that produces up to 50 crates a day,” she said.

Nko explains that the crop production does not happen in winter seasons due to the cold  temperatures experienced in the area. Instead, this period is used for soil preparation. The company has 15 part-time employees who assist with planting and harvesting.

Vegetables such as cabbages, spinach and tomatoes are produced for sale. Chicken pieces, full chicken, chicken liver, chicken heads, and chicken feet are packaged to meet customer demands.

SheepAt the moment, the company has three interns and four permanent employees working and assisting with daily operations of the business. Manosi's success was partly made possible by a R32 000 funding the company received from the department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in the Free State. Nko received the Female Entrepreneur Award as a second runner-up to the  Top Entrepreneur Small Holder Producer.

Another funding was received through winning the R200 000  first prize at Youth in Business Pitch from an Agro-processing presentation that was hosted by the Free State Department of Economics, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) in October, 2023.

The business also has sheep that produce wool and meat. The challenges that are faced are land for grazing, and water for irrigation purposes.

“We received support in the form of 500 poin-of-lay chickens in July. In September, we received 87 merino sheep, 300 bales of Lucerne and  medication from the DALRRD.

Nko also mentions that through the assistance from the Small Enterprise Development Agency the company was able to benefit with branding, training and mentorship. The National Youth Development Agency financed the development of the company’s website.

Nko is part of the 2023 cohort of the Corteva Women Agripreneurs at the University of Pretoria and also part of the Women Creating Wealth 2023 sponsored by the Graca Machel Trust. 

For more information about Manosi JRM (Pty) Ltd. contact 061 588 9763

For more information about DALRRD visit: www.dalrrd.gov.za

For more information about Corteva Women Agripreneurs visit: www.gibs.co.za/courses/entrepreneurship-courses/pages/corteva-women-agr…

For more information about Women Creating Wealth programme visit: www.gracamacheltrust.org/2023/09/29/women-creating-wealth-intergenerati…

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