Louisa Maloka-Mogotsi (64), a trained social worker turned farmer, is one of the success stories to come from the stakeholder engagements held recently in the Bojanala District in the North West by the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Desbo Mohono.
Maloka-Mogotsi is a citrus farmer from Mooinooi who received assistance from the department in 2016 to acquire a 66-hectare farm. Today, she exports her produce – several orange varieties and Lisbon lemons – to the Middle East and Russia.
She says much of her success is thanks to MEC, who has made funding and upskilling female farmers a priority. This has enabled them to diversify and collaborate with other female farmers to increase their production, she adds.
Maloka-Mogotsi also received a grant from the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for a tractor, a slasher and a boom sprayer.
“Through the grant, I was also able to pay my workers for one year, without the initial teething pressures, and was also able to work successfully. I appreciate that with the intervention the government gave us, I can steer the business in the right direction.”
She says the informative sessions held by the provincial government convinced her that she needed to export her produce to make her farm commercially viable. They empowered her to rehabilitate her farm and reskill her employees to produce export-quality citrus. Her surplus produce is sold to a fruit juice manufacturer.
Challenges and triumphs
Maloka-Mogotsi says the COVID-19 pandemic almost destroyed the region’s farms, but again the department showed immense support. “We appreciate that the department saw it fit to give us post-COVID-19 business input vouchers, which helped a great deal.”
In her latest engagement in May, MEC Mohono encouraged farmers to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the government.
“I am encouraging youth and female farmers to take heed of the opportunities presented to them by the government. They should not underestimate their potential with the belief that agriculture is a male-dominated industry. The department is committed to providing quality services and support to emerging farmers,” said MEC Mohono.
For opportunities from the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, visit www.dard.nwpg.gov.za or call:
Agricultural Support Services: 018 389 5724
Agricultural Economics: 018 389 5300
Rural Development: 018 389 5432