A successful business, Anna Phosa tells me, needs one to have drive and a clear vision. And she clearly had those two things when setting up Dreamland Piggery and Abattoir in Vanderbijlpark.
To date, Phosa is the only black woman commercial pig farmer in South Africa. She’s been called one of South Africa’s new age “agripreneurs” — entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.
After starting out in vegetable farming to earn extra income, Phosa went to a farmers’ networking event in Zuurbekom, which proved to be a turning point for her.
Pig farming wasn’t something Phosa was familiar with, but she bought four pigs in 2004, believing in the possibility of successful commercial pig farming.
“There was this old man, Mr Mohlabi, who was a veteran pig farmer, and he just inspired me to get into it,” she said.
At that point, she was working in the family hardware business, but when the pigs were bought, and a plot of land was found in De Deur in Johannesburg South, she put her heart into learning all she could about pig farming.
Phosa’s business savvy and networking skills has ensured that her business keeps growing. In 2005, Phosa approached Vereeniging Meat Packers, and started selling meat to them. In 2006, she was the Young Farmer Award winner for her exceptional work in the agricultural sector, and in 2016 she won the Standard Bank Top Woman in Agriculture award.
She entered that year into a multi-million rand deal with Pick n Pay, to supply them with 300-350 pigs a week, from her own farm and from other local farmers.
“I have 30 permanent staff members and 10 seasonal workers. I mostly employ local youth in my business. I train students who have just completed their agricultural studies and provide mentorship for those interested in the business.”