A growing interest from consumers in knowing where their food comes from, how it is produced, and who is producing it, inspired serial agripreneur Mavis Nduchwa, founder of Chabana Farms, to create a solution. Today, her endeavours in agribusiness are making a real difference to people and lives all along the value chain.
LoA chatted to the inspirational Mavis Nduchwa in Gaborone, Botswana this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
We are an agriculture company that works with farmers, from idea stage through to products and markets. We started as farmers and realized that there was a challenge of livestock feeds in the country, and that was the inspiration for venturing into that particular field of business. We also have social projects such as our poultry and piggery business. We launched Chabana Investment Fund, the part of our business where we provide startup capital to women to invest into cash crops such as our chilli growing project. We then buy this chilli from them, process, package, brand and supply it to the market. This improves the livelihoods of these women farmers, creating a means to addressing sustainable economic empowerment. It also contributes to the decline in gender based violence, as well as contributing to the reduction in world hunger and poverty.
“At Chabana Farms we like to say farming is one of the family's activities. In fact Chabana farms as it is, is collective effort of three generations.”
What inspired you to start your company?
What inspired me to start this business were the challenges people in my community went through, especially women, as most of them were raising kids as single parents. I had to do something to break the cycle of poverty and gender based violence.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
All our products are organic and contain no chemicals. All crops are organically grown by our small scale farmers. That’s why at Chabana Farms the farmers own the company not the other way round. Through purchasing our products you can be able to know how they were produced and by which farmers.
“Farming is a culture, through which we work with small scale farmers through training, mentorship as well as career development.”
Tell us a little about your team
We have a small team, however it is the winning team. Mavis Nduchwa is the CEO and founder, she is an advocate for change in the community. Growing up on a farm herself she is the best person to lead the team. Brighton Chabana is the engine behind it all as the Operations manager. And our public relations and marketing is Gaone Mogae.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I was born and grew up on a farm. During my early years, I watched my grandmother trade her produce, such as goats milk, goats, and certain crops. My mother lived in a small mining town, and therefore visiting her meant helping her sell sweets, juice clothes, perfumes, etc. My older sister also sold cosmetics. It was no surprise that at school I use to sell sweets and biscuits. I knew I was destined for the entrepreneurship route when I opened my own little letter writing services at junior and high school. Because my mother lived in the city or town, I had access to books and magazines to read, therefore that helped improve my English writing skills. Love letters were a big thing back then, so I would help friends write their letters for a small fee.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Future plans are to turn Chabana Farms into a global brand by looking for outside markets. This will help us pull up as many women and youth as we can through our training programs.
“We have taken the future into our hands. We’re helping to raise the next generation of organic farmers. Our families are passing down years of knowledge to their children and raising the organic farmers of the future.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
My most satisfying factor is listening to the challenges people have and to be able to change their challenges into solutions. Another source of satisfaction is knowing that socially and economically, we are transforming lives, and it means a lot. And the fact that as an entrepreneur you determine your own path going forward.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
You are stronger than you can ever imagine, take the leap of faith and get started. Babies fall many times before they can master the art of walking. So follow your dreams
Contact or follow Chabana Farms
Why LoA loves it….
Africa has a rich agricultural heritage, but to bring the sector into a new era and make it sustainable and profitable for everyone to enjoy, it needs passion driven people who have the essential experience and technical knowledge. Mavis Nduchwa is on a mission to really make a difference in her country and her community, creating businesses that can make a genuine and lasting contribution to the agricultural value chain. Her business strategy is a winning one. She is creating tangible economic opportunities for local farmers, whilst at the same time meeting consumer demands for organic, healthy food with a strong backstory. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa