Embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship is a challenging endeavour with numerous ups and downs. However, for many business owners in the North West province, the rewards are worth the obstacles.
One such individual who has demonstrated unwavering dedication and commitment is Mr Kagiso Dirapelo, the founder and Director of Lonaka Farm Produce. Situated just outside Mahikeng in the serene village of Moletsamongwe, Lonaka Farm has flourished under Mr. Dirapelo’s visionary leadership, specializing in livestock production, horticulture, and mobile butchery. Despite humble beginnings, Lonaka Farm has experienced remarkable growth, providing valuable opportunities for the local community where job creation is of paramount importance, Lonaka Farm has played a critical role in addressing unemployment. Through strategic employment initiatives, the farm currently supports six permanent staff members and has welcomed one student as part of the government’s learnership programme.
From small seeds to blooming success, in 2009, Lonaka Farm started operations with a modest livestock count of five cattle and seven sheep. However, driven by an ambitious vision, Mr Dirapelo refused to succumb to adversity. Recognizing the potential within his grasp, he legally established the company in 2018. Since then, Lonaka Farm has witnessed remarkable expansion, boasting an impressive livestock inventory that includes over 700 broiler chickens, and 1152 layers dedicated to egg production.
Dirapelo explained that he had to sell the cattle and sheep he began with in order to start meat production and supplement his new business enterprise. Except for the chickens, the farm currently does not have its own livestock, and they rely on auctions to obtain meat and sell it to the market. In addition, the farm operates a mobile butchery, catering to a diverse clientele ranging from local supermarkets and convenience stores to social clubs and individuals seeking quality meat for special occasions such as funerals, weddings, and parties.
Mr. Dirapelo accomplished a childhood dream, and his desire to own a farm was deeply rooted in his upbringing. The responsibility of caring for his family’s livestock also fueled his passion from a young age. What truly inspired him, however, was the ability to generate wealth for his family while also creating work possibilities in the local community. The success of Lonaka Farm displays Mr. Dirapelo’s dedication to making his ambitions a reality.
Through its empowerment fund programme, the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation, and Tourism identified Lonaka Farm’s potential and provided crucial assistance. As a result, the farm has acquired necessary machinery and equipment, such as a display fridge, senior bandsaw, meat mincer, and sausage filler. These upgrades will greatly improve the farm’s operating efficiency, allowing it to provide superior services to its valued consumers.
Although Lonaka Farm has achieved remarkable success, it faces certain challenges that are inherent to running a business. Transporting products to clients has become a hurdle due to the breakdown of the farm’s aged bakkie. Nonetheless, Mr Dirapelo and his team are actively exploring alternative means of transportation to ensure timely product delivery. Furthermore, the farm has been affected by intermittent power outages, but thanks to a small backup generator, Lonaka Farm has managed to sustain its operations and continue providing excellent service.
Mr Dirapelo expresses gratitude for the department’s assistance, noting that with its newfound assistance and resources, Lonaka Farm would be able to rise to greater heights. Mr Dirapelo sees an even brighter future, with greater revenue and a larger client base, as well as the operation of a fully equipped butchery that will employ more people. His ultimate goals include becoming one of the top commercial farmers, achieving a national and international reputation, and even exporting some of their products to neighbouring countries and beyond.
“We want Lonaka Farm’s produce to become a renowned brand throughout South Africa by producing our own livestock, having an animal feedlot, increasing our egg-laying production from 1152 layers to 12,000, and increasing the capacity for broilers and vegetables,” said Mr Dirapelo, the visionary behind Lonaka Farm’s ambitious journey towards agricultural excellence.
Issued by the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism
For enquiries please contact:
Mr Jerry Matebesi
072 333 0325