PBL farm products Pty Ltd is a Lesotho resident private company with two shareholders, a lady and a gentleman who met in college. The company was registered in 2015 and started operations in 2016. Bokang Molelle (29) and Relebohile Phiri (30), ventured into farming business because they believed there is need for continuous food security, creation of jobs in the sector and related industries as well as wealth creation through reserves accumulation as the business grows. Farm production site is at Kolonyama ha Molelle in Leribe district.
The company currently produces piglets, pork and beans. Current business line is breeding of camborough breed piglets for sale to smallholder Farmers who are in piggery business. We now sell pork as well.
The plan is to expand the production capacity so that we have pork available all the time.
Current capacity is 48 pigs. 22 are breeding stock and the rest are growers. Maximum capacity is 94( breeding stock, piglets and growers).
Production of beans has been mainly affected by effects of climate change, lack of farm resources to enable production on all of the area at the convenience of shareholders. Total size of the land the company has is 26 hectares (about 64.25 acres) of which only 10 hectares gets to be utilized because it is costly to hire tractors and other tools to work all the area.
In 2016 we got assistance from SADP in a form of funding to scale up our production.
Its assistance to PBL was in a form of building the structure of 10 pens, fitted with drinking system (nipples), construction and installation of borehole, purchase of a generator to power water from the borehole, procurement and transportation of breeding stock from South Africa to Lesotho.
Improvements in the business after intervention of SADP include;
– increased production scale
– increased marketed output
– improved breeds providing quality pork popular in the market
– efficiency in operations due to better technical knowledge of production Technics. Amongst the trainings we got through SADP intervention is the animal feed formulation, environmental management and maintenance of proper records.
– Improved Staff morale and motivation from lessons learnt workshops where the project got platform for benchmarking and learned some new things as well as sharing ideas with peers in relation to some of the challenges and success stories
– increased number of people who get jobs from the value chain activities of our business. To date, over 15 people have benefited in job opportunities brought by the increased production scale. Currently the business has 6 permanent staff (in management, production, guard, as well as in sales and administration)
– increased network of farmers (mostly those that buy piglets from our farm)
Main challenges encountered have been;
– piglets mortality especially in winter
– high staff turnover
– high costs of production (mainly feeding costs)
– inconsistent market segments / demand patterns
– low productivity due to small production facilities
– Lack of water at the production site.
– Delays in payments by some of the customers who buy on credit
Following reports about high piglet mortality rate to SADP, further assistance was provided in a form of biogas system (LASAP initiative). The functionality of the biogas is such that there would be heating and lighting in the structures so as to provide necessary warm temperatures in winter as well as light throughout the night.
The biogas construction was completed but not yet operational. It was anticipated to be working by end of November 2020, the testing was done and there is gas generated. The heaters and lights are however not working as expected. The contractor then said the budget for construction was lower than enough to get the required appliances. This means there is no heating and lighting as expected.
The demand for pork is increasing and we aim to produce and be able to sell 20 pigs per month. We plan to achieve this by utilising our production facility, as well as those of our piglets clients (Farmers in fattening) so that they buy piglets and as they mature we supply the market demand of the 20 carcasses per month.
Our future goals include mobilising additional financing for infrastructure development and capacity building so that the bigger operation scale we are aiming for, becomes a success. We aim to provide job opportunities to not less than 10 permanent staff throughout the value chain.
We have learned a lot from the project, including how to run the business, how to manage relationships with stakeholders, how to be patient as the business takes time to develop.
Our daily lives have changed and we now wake up having work to do at the farm. We are able to satisfy our financial needs from the earnings we get from the business.
We give a sincere appreciation for the good work done by SADP and wish it gets to reach and impact many livelihoods in all communities where it is present.
Director at PBL farm Products Pty Ltd :
Bokang Molelle (Mr)
59797760 / 62797760