Maun, Botswana — While many Maun natives practically live off the famous Thamalakane River including tourism-related practices such as fishing, for one Nonny Penelope Wright, aged 29 and born and raised in Maun she chose a different vocation.
Drawing inspiration from her family, the mother of one says she did not shy away from managing kraals and seeing her wealth grow further whilst learning new ventures.
“I was raised in a farming family background where we reared beef cattle mostly Brahman and Charolais. We also did arable farming. Most days of my growing up were spent on the farms and that made me love it so much. I grew up an energetic young girl and played so much sport that I believe it helped build the strength I have now which helps me become a better farmer.”
Wright says she did try to get a tertiary qualification particularly a degree but had to drop as she faced life situations before garnering to make commercial farming.
“I dropped out of my 3rd year Bachelor of Commerce in economics course in a tough emotional time of my life. And it was an unfortunate trial and tribulations I went through at that point of my life as a scholar. Since then I have gathered Certificates in different business courses and agricultural courses that are suitable to run my business. I do intend to put them together one day and finish what I once started,” she stated.
“When growing up I wanted to become a President one day. At that time the former president Festus Mogae was in office and I chose to become an economist as he was. Also South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki was my inspiration to getting a Master’s degree, climbing my way up to working in a bank to become the next governor and then becoming Mother of the nation,” she recalls her teenage days.
However, she currently finds herself as one of the contributors to the country’s GDP through her passion for farming and has no regrets for her choice of career despite her youthful age. “I have always loved farming and I have gotten knowledge over the years on how to become better.
When life did a shift and turn in my educational route I came back to Maun from South Africa and started helping my parents at the farms. As the year passed by I fell deeply in love and asked for family support. My parents are my biggest cheerleaders, mentors and the first to give me a chance to start up my business. Although it took my mother a bit of time to accept this as she wanted me to graduate first she eventually believed in me. Unfortunately my father passed away in April 2016 and that was the second hardest part of my life but I now work harder to make sure the dream he believed in ultimately becomes a multi-millionaire business.”
Wright currently owns a commercial farm dubbed Lopey Inc which is an agro housed business that has two farms, Sereledi Farm just 7kms out of Maun in Polokabatho is the home of the dairy consisting of a female herd of Jersey cows, new friesen and Ayrshire cows.
“That’s where we do our breeding through Artificial Insemination using female sexed semen to ensure a female growth of the herd as a dairy cow is expensive for a young person like me. We also have a ploughing element of feed under dry land farming (which is currently irregular due to change of climate) and our raw milking house. The farm also has Ile de France sheep which we sell to breeders around Maun.”
“Yabarati Farm In Chanoga is also our newly acquired irrigation farm that is currently under construction to try and produce the required good quality feed for the animals to get good production of milk as we are experiencing a change in our climate in Botswana and can’t use Sereledi Farm to its full potential.”
We also have Sereledi processing plant which is where we further process our raw milk into Fresh Milk, Yogurt and sour milk. Our drinking yogurt is branded Sereledi and is currently sold in local stores in Maun and is highly a favorite with Batswana. All our products recipes were designed to suit the required taste by a Motswana and allows us to be unique in the market”
“We offer products that are unique and suitable for a Motswana taste. We advertise on social media, attend different shows, do radio and newspaper interviews to broaden our horizons. We also apply and tender for any dairy opportunity and currently supply different institutions like Prisons, Junior Schools and Hospitals”
Wright remains thankful to her team of nine who are mostly youth. “We are currently working on improving the business by introducing new products and also getting into a broader market that have higher consumptions. We would like to see Sereledi Brand on the shelves of all stores in Botswana and beyond. The Ministry of Agriculture has so far given us a great support system by ensuring we do the right quality practices for the animals and products.
Things like Vet visits, testings, the Semen we use is subsidized and they assist in skills development etc. We have also gotten support in terms of tenders where as a young woman in business I have a 15% competitive advantage of tendering which greatly increased our chances of Government Institutions supply opportunity”