June 2021 1st edition

Dairy farm ploughs back

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

A successful North West dairy farm is helping others in the industry to get a foot in the door.  Workers at South Western Dairy in North West.

A father and son, who founded a 100% black-owned dairy business, want to give opportunities to small and emerging farmers in the milk production sector.

Stephen Mtimkulu and his son Nkosana are the founders of South Western Dairy, which is based in North West.

While the milk production industry is mainly in the hands of major producers, this does not mean that small farmers cannot enter the space, they say.

“We want to provide smallholder dairy farmers with a market for their milk. This will be done by listing these dairy farmers in our supply chain.

“It will provide opportunities for emerging dairy farmers to enter the milk industry and transform the sector,” says Nkosana.

The pair started their business in 2010, when Stephen acquired a farm in North West. They received start-up funding from the Department of Agriculture.

Nkosana says it has been a long journey, but they did not give up. Just after starting in 2010, a major milk processor promised to buy from them but, at the last minute, said their production capacity was too small and would not meet his targets.

“We decided to go to surrounding communities to sell pasteurised milk, amasi, yoghurt and feta cheese.”

The business now has seven permanent employees and has expanded to secondary milk processing.

It sources fresh milk from local dairy farmers and produces various dairy products.

Nkosana says their goal is for South Western Dairy to become a leading milk company in South Africa and add ultra-high temperature milk, powdered milk and baby formula to their product range.

He urges those in the same line of business, especially emerging milk producers, not to give up.

“As an entrepreneur, you need to persevere. Get advice from your nearest extension officers, state veterinarians, experts, cooperatives, YouTube and industry-leading bodies.

“Failure is not fatal or final, it is a great opportunity to learn, grow and advance your craft,” he says.

For more information, visit www.southwesterndairy.com

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