The day Alan Simons was retrenched from his job as an agricultural worker, his life changed forever. Now, fourteen years later, he runs his own lucrative family farming business with Eugene, his wife, in Firgrove, Cape Town in the Western Cape.
In an exclusive interview with Farmer’s Inside Track, Simons discusses the ins and outs of operating a family farming business. “If you have a passion for whatever you’re doing, all challenges just fade away, but with family members in can be tricky,” he says.
Simons founded his first company, Alan’s Veg, fourteen years ago and set up his second business, Algina Wholesale Nursery, five years ago. “We grew so much as a family, if it wasn’t for the retrenchment, we wouldn’t have started Alan’s Veg, we’re just so blessed and with our family behind us nothing can go wrong,” he adds.
Pursuing a new career as an agripreneur was a big adjustment for Simons, but his faith and family carried him through this exciting journey. In the video he highlights the best thing about being a farmer. “Being out in the tunnels, scratching in the soil, speaking to our staff, teaching them and asking for their input, every day is exciting and everyday there is something new,” Simons says.
The Simons’ continues to build their family empire and Alan draws strength from his wife, Eugene, who he affectionately calls “my vroutjie” (my wifey).
“We’ve come a long way; she won the Western Cape female farmer of the year award in 2015 and what inspires me most is women in agriculture. All the years it’s been a male-dominated sector and for a woman to stand up and say ‘I’m going to farm no matter what’ and all odds against her, it shows courage and determination and she’s living her passion as well.”
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