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Maseru

MOFAFA’s winning innovative feeding approach

Business

By Lehlohonolo Motšoari

In a space dominated by men, 32 year-old Mamothibe Mothibe stands tall, breaking barriers as the director of Mothibe Family Farm popularly known as MOFAFA. 

With a heart full of passion and determination, she shares her remarkable journey into the world of dairy farming.

Discovering the Love for Dairy Farming: A Surprising Start

Owning 15 cows and 20 sheep, for extra means of surviving in the farm, the core business of the farm is milk production.

Located at lower Motloheloa in Maseru, Mothibe says they cultivate their land and also owns a tractor, a planter and have post-harvest storage.

Mothibe’s path to dairy farming wasn’t conventional, reflecting on her upbringing, she admits, she never imagined herself in the dairy business. 

“My only companion growing up was a beloved dog, however, fate had a different plan of its own, a plan which was revealed after I was married and my husband and I bought our first dairy cow in 2015 during an auction at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). It was my husband’s idea,” she narrates saying through the purchase and the transition, her entrepreneurial spirit was ignited.

“The journey truly began in 2016 when we expanded our operations by collaborating with Mazenod dairy farmers and importing cows from South Africa. We had to learn dairy farming because we had cows that were only consuming from us and not paying back the money invested.” Mothibe shares citing things started looking up with their business growing.

“We were supplying Lesotho Dairy with milk.”

“We produce 60litrers of milk a day from 7 cows with medium feeding,” she says.

Nurturing the Business amidst Trials and Triumphs

Mothibi recounts losing two pregnant cows they had just bought from South Africa.

“Despite setbacks like the loss of some cows, our resilience prevailed,” she says, however noting feeding their cows posed a significant challenge, prompting them to cultivate their feed to minimize costs.

She highlights while milk production is their core business, the problem of high cost of feeding, the farm launched a project of developing animal feed using waste from food industries.

“We produce fresh milk from cows locally and we feed our cows meal with probiotic which minimizes the use of antibiotics. We are having trainings and mentorship which will result in high quality milk production.

Innovating for Success: Recognitions and Achievements

Entering a domain perceived as masculine, Mothibe says she has encountered scepticism but has also earned respect for her tenacity. 

“I may lack the traditional toughness associated with livestock farming, but I found acceptance among my peers. Men sought my advice, acknowledging my business acumen,” she says.

Her innovative waste-based feeding approach earned her recognition in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) competition. 

“Our waste-based feeding solution impressed the judges, securing us a spot in the top 15,” she recounts.

Surpassing expectations, Mothibe emerged as the winner, an accomplishment she attributes to her determination and strategic thinking.

She described their innovation as an idea that produce animal feed products using rose heap and brewer’s spent grain and yeast.”

“The reason we are yet to hit the markets is because we lack certain elements of our produce that includes other waste like plants and trees sawdust. We are also still trying to source some funds to help us buy machinery that can produce this kind of waste.”

“Also, we have decided to make a product from the current resources we have and we are going to send the produce to farmers and wait for their feedback.”

She also indicated that they are working on the legalities to secure their innovative idea and UNDP has also assured them that it will make sure that their idea is secured.

“We are preparing to present our project in Kenya at the Youth Connect conference, with promised financial backing,” she reveals.

Through the competition, Mothibe says there were a series of workshops that paved the way for further success. 

Mothibe seized the opportunity to pitch her idea in a Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion (CAFI) competition, winning M129, 000 to elevate her business to a professional level.

As she navigates the challenges of entrepreneurship, Mothibe remains resolute. 

“The journey has been arduous, but the rewards outweigh the hardships. I’m focused on growth and expansion,” she asserts.

A Bright Future Ahead

Looking ahead, Mothibe envisions MOFAFA as a hub for dairy processing, aiming to offer a range of dairy products to the market. 

With determination as her compass, the farmer continues to inspire, proving that with resilience and vision, any obstacle can be overcome in the pursuit of success. 

“We are currently running trials to help sustain feeding for maximum milk production which is the strategy of our bigger vision; to be a leading processing company in the country, which will not turn blind eye to profitability, sustainability, acknowledgement of technology and community involved.

“We eye expansion where dairy processing will be affordable, where we will be spending less on feeding and producing the main ingredient, the fresh milk that is of guaranteed good quality,” she says.

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