In 2017, Phathutshedzo Marvelous Madula (27) had given up hope of securing the learnership he needed to finish his engineering qualification. Raised by his grandmother in Ha Mandiwana, Limpopo, he had hoped to change his family’s circumstances through his qualification. After four years of searching without any luck, he gave up.
Madula’s grandmother raised him and his eight siblings with her grant money and with the money she obtained from selling the maize in her backyard. As a child, Madula had always enjoyed working in the garden with his grandmother. One day when he was out walking, he remembered just how much.
The memory prompted him to use the little money he had to buy seedlings for the garden. The gardening initially helped take his mind off the pressure of not finding work, but as he started planting more and more, it eventually became his work. He went on to obtain a bigger piece of land, and has grown his business to include the planting of green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cabbage.
Madula ventured into agro-processing only after his partner, Mpfariseni Beauty Rasimpi, suggested it. He was happy with the progress of the agribusiness and initially did not understand what the point would be to expand. She managed to convince him, however. This is how, in 2018, Marvel Chilli Sauce was born.
The sauce comes in three flavors: tomato jam, fruits jam, and chilli atchar. It has so far been very happily received by the people of his village. Soon Madula hopes to sell to bigger retailers.
Here are Madula’s five tips for aspiring agripreneurs who may want to start a chilli sauce business in the agro-processing sector:
Take your business seriously
“As an agripreneur it’s imperative to take your business seriously. It is very important that your business be presentable to consumers.”
Persevere, persevere, persevere
“Starting a business from scratch has never been easy at all, but with dedication and perseverance it is possible.”
Know your market
“The market is broad and often you need to be innovative to access it. The food market has various segments ranging from fresh crops from the farm, processed and dried vegetables, fresh fruits, processed fruits and dried fruits.”
Get the help you need to get certified
“When you aim to take your products for further testing and certification in order to access the formal retail stores, the Small Enterprises Development Agency (SEDA) can help you.”