….Snail farms get international recognition
When the world influences one’s vision of life, innovation becomes an easily achievable reality, and Rethabile Qhala and their business partner saw a gap in a rather popular but peculiar business venue, harnessing snails for beauty products.
Their work has dominated the innovation of agricultural practices, not only in Lesotho but in the African Continent.
They are currently proud nominees for the prestigious 2023 African Women in Agribusiness Awards.
The duo established Organo-pharma and snail farming in 2021, and are always visible at different gatherings meant to help small businesses grow and expand the market.
They were party to the recent Inter-Regional Agriculture Symposium (IRAS) that was meant to help farmers find suitable networks and identify new customer base as well as using the event to promote their businesses.
Of all the events Qhala has attended, the Agricultural Symposium left a positive impact on the business operations.
“We now have a huge continental market thanks to the symposium,” Qhala tells Seahlolo.
Organo-pharma is a business popularly known for its skincare products made from snails.
They also manufacture and package pine trees for hair food, hair oil grower, and shampoo and use African wormwood, and Eucalyptus globulus tree for arthritis products.
“I have networked with new people and customers, and now I have a market in Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana,” she said.
Speaking with Seahlolo, Qhala explained that her company’s products are meant to benefit health and help one’s body recover.
“Our products are natural. They are made from herbs and everything organic and are meant to be used until a problem has been solved. We don’t encourage our clients to depend on long-term usage of our products.
“They are mostly medicinal because they help treat and fight certain problems, for one, with our skin care products, once the skin has restored its natural state, one can easily stop using them,” She said indicating their most popular product is the snail serum which clear pigmentation, blemishes, acne, black spot, sunburn, razor burn, and to hydrate your skin, and make it look younger.
Qhala relates that her business journey was a personal drive because she had chronic acne on her skin for about three years until she met a good Samaritan who advised her to use snails.
“…Two months of the treatment and I was healed. I knew at that point I needed to expand and help others.”
She indicates that people’s curiosity about her sudden healing was confirmation there was a market.
Qhala said the information shared during the debut Inter-Regional Agriculture Symposium (IRAS) held in Lesotho opened her eyes.
“I was in a space where the future of Africa’s agriculture looks like and hearing facts from experts was motivation enough,” she said.
The Symposium was happening at the grounds of the Lesotho Agricultural College, and saw the presence of agricultural enthusiasts, policymakers, development institutions and smallholder farmers from Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, and Lesotho, who agreed that to attain agricultural inputs, small-scale farmers need to collaborate and have access to finance.
A Botswana agriculture enthusiast and researcher, Oarabile Ditedu, organised the symposium in Lesotho aided by the Africa Women Farmers Allies Lesotho (AWFAL), the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Botswana) and the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) among other local and international stakeholders.
She described the forum as a catalytic force for change in Africa’s agricultural landscape; intending to build strong partnerships of market trade, policy sharing, project implementations and agribusiness growth within the African continent.
“Knowledge exchange platforms, outreach mentorship programs and support systems are key for women and youth to excel. We seek local, national and international partnerships and investors across the globe to join and make agriculture profitable.”