Well-known entrepreneur and private equity investor Polo Leteka has urged young farmers to create wealth that not only contributes to food security, but also grows and transforms the economy.
Leteka, who is the co-founder and executive director of IDF Capital, says she is “very unapologetic” about wanting to create wealth. “There is nothing wrong with it. I believe that each one of us has a purpose, and wealth gives you the tools and resources to execute your purpose and dreams. Always be ethical, tough, and don’t be exploitative because that is not sustainable.”
Through IDF Capital she has already helped many African entrepreneurs to become catalysts of economic growth across the continent by supporting them on their entrepreneurial journeys.
With her experience in both the public and private sectors, Leteka delved into how young farmers could position their businesses to acquire funding, optimize their agri-businesses and access global markets.
Leteka believes that African farmers are in a fortunate position because of the viable land available, which in her opinion, other countries do not have. She shared many life and business lessons with young farmers, including that at times you’ll have to eat humble pie. “You may be the founder, planner and ideas person behind an excellent business, but you may not necessarily get to be the CEO or the idea implementer. Step back. Eat the humble pie. Learn the lesson.”
AFASA Youth Chairperson and CEO of GrowthShoot, Nono Sekhoto-Iga, says they’ve been trying for many years to secure Leteka as keynote speaker of #AAYFS2019. “She’s a phenomenal businesswoman and has done a lot of work in providing access to finance for small businesses. We want our young farmers to be encouraged and motivated around the challenges that may emerge and how they can navigate around solving those challenges.”
Farmers attending the two-day summit says they are excited about the great speaker line-up and the opportunity to network with fellow farmers and industry leaders alike.
“It is my third time attending and I can honestly say that it has benefited me. Last year I met a farmer at the summit who helped me with market research for a new farming project I started,” says Mangaliso Mtimkulu from Ntethe Farming. He says the summit is tailor-made for young farmers and that there’s valuable data to collect from the summit.
Kagelelo Matlala from Lelo’s Poulty Farm says it is her first time attending the Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit. “As young, upcoming farmers, the issue of funding is a big thing for us, so it was great to hear about the funding programmes that are available in agriculture.”
Also inspired is timber farmer Musawenkosi Kubheka from KwaZulu Natal. He says he was moved by how many of his peers at the summit never formally studied agriculture, but has a great passion for it and are extremely successful. “The summit is informative and a great place for networking. It is impossible to attend the Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit and not grow and learn from it.”
- Stay tuned to Food For Mzansi for continuous live coverage of #AAYFS2019.