PROFILE: Anna Phosa thrives as a pig farmer
Phosa says she went into farming with a passion and acquired the knowledge along the way
Anna Phosa, who started her farm with only four pigs 15 years ago and boasts 3,000 animals, plans to broaden her client base for her thriving business.
Phosa, who is one of the few black female commercial pig farmers in the country, started Dreamland Piggery & Abattoir in the Vaal area, south of Johannesburg, in 2004. In addition to the pigs, the farm has an abattoir and maize field. Its main clients are big retailers such as Pick n Pay.
“My next step is to go into prime cuts to provide markets such as catering as some want certain cuts of meat rather than the whole thing. Also, some stores are also doing away with taking the whole pig and want portion cuts,” said Phosa.
Explaining her journey into farming, she says that she and her family bought a smallholding in De Deur from their savings with plans to plant vegetables to sell to the community. She was farming part time while working at her husband’s business. It was in 2006 when after buying two pigs from a family friend, she decided to go into farming full time.
In 2008 she secured her first contract with one of the big retailers to provide 10 pigs a week. That grew to 100 in 2010 and by 2016 she was delivering up to 350 pigs a week.
Phosa says she went into farming with a passion and acquired the knowledge along the way. “I learnt a lot from the people in the industry and the department of agriculture also provided us with some support.”
The department provided Phosa and her family with some smallholding land to expand her pig-breeding facilities.
“I became more excited and realised the benefits of farming when I was allocated what is called ‘agricultural smallholding land’. This is the land that really pushed me to become one of the successful farmers in Gauteng,” she said.
Like many entrepreneurs, access to funding was a challenge for Phosa. “Financial institutions see farming as risky. Moreover, farming is still a male-dominated sector and as a woman you have to triple your effort,” she said.
However, government institutions have intensified their efforts to help farmers.
Phosa employs 42 permanent staff and 10 seasonal employees, who mostly work at the maize field.
The award-winning farmer was a guest of US agriculture group Corteva last week when it was listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Phosa is one of the clients of Corteva, which provides her with seeds for soya beans and maize, which she feeds to the animals.
The writer was a guest of Corteva in the US.