Faith Mokgalaka decided to combine her love of computer science and agriculture to help stop the country from importing food that can be produced locally. Working with all kinds of farmers and having experience as a farmer herself, Mokgalaka also wants every small-scale farmer to reach commercial success. Although her fintech business is only a year old, it has already assisted more than 40 farmers with financial and non-financial support.
Mokgalaka told Vutivi News that her company takes farmers through the process of derisking their enterprises and making them ready for crowdsourcing investment. She employs a data science team, which she believes is crucial to the success of her company and the farmers she assists. “We identify what the business needs and make sure that by the time we put you on our platform, you are ready to use the crowdsourced investment properly,” Mokgalaka said.
“Once the process of de-risking the farm is complete, we put the farmer on our platform, where we find investors for them.” According to Mokgalaka, data analytics which is the process of collecting, transforming, and organising data in order to draw conclusions, make predictions, and drive informed decision-making, is very important for success in the agriculture sector. Mokgalaka believes what separates her business from others like hers, is that she has her own data science team.
“Making data-driven decisions ensures that we help farms from the beginning, right up to the point where they successfully obtain investment,” she explained. The company has 12 employees even though Mokgalaka struggled to find the right people to work for her. When she started her business in Johannesburg, she offered people shares in exchange for fulfilling various roles in her company.“I offered so many people shares for them to work for me, and I am glad that they turned me down because I would not be owning my company 100%,” Mokgalaka said.
“I also realised that they did not share the same vision as I did for the company, and for me, it is important to have a team that I can trust to interact with the investors and the farmers. “Right now, I am proud that I hired a team of recently graduated professionals, and I am glad that I am able to provide employment to those that are fresh out of university,” she noted.
Puno Greenery has helped 42 farmers raise over R130,000. “The aim is to reach a point where our small-scale farmers, who have been farming for decades and are experienced, are upscaled so that they can farm commercially and help the country stop importing food we have the land to grow,” Mokgalaka said.