Bringing Zim’s exotic veggies to South African dinner tables

Bringing Zim’s exotic veggies to South African dinner tables

JOURNALISTS are hardly known to turn into entrepreneurs, but Zvishavane born Peter Moyo, has done the unusual and swapped the pen for the business world breaking into SA tourism industry and into running a farm that provides exotic vegetables, not normally eaten by South Africans.

Moyo has embarked on a mission to introduce traditional Zimbabwean (and other parts of the world) such as Okra(Derere),

” Most SA eat cabbage and spinach but I am introducing exotic Zimbabwean vegetables says the proud owner of MaVeggie.com.

“Even what we refer to as Covo is also eaten by the Greeks while Okra( Derere) is quite popular with the Nigerians as well as other people from other African countries who live here, ” he adds.

Maveggie has more than 30 000 plants of the exotic Zimbabwean vegetable English Giant Rape and 2 5000 plants of Covo/Rugare/Viscose and Troncuda. The farm also grows cabbage and Spinach and supplies provinces, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West.

Situated  at a farm a few kilometres towards Polokwane north of Joburg, Moyo has started selling to a largely immigrant population since last year and has opened a shop in Jozi’s Windsor Eastas well as selling at various markets.

“I am also selling to a number of Portuguese shops who also eat this vegetable,” says Moyo coming with an interesting fact that the popular Zimbabwean vegetable called “Rape” is also eaten by the Portuguese.

But how much does Moyo, think he will be able to introduce new vegetables in SA?

“I am quite confident that the SA market will be quite receptive and of course we plan to take advantage of the large immigrant population that s here. One day when I was repairing my van(vegetable) at a mechanics.

Moyo adds that he is currently in negotiations with big supermarket chains stores to sell his product but

But the former SABC, Special Assignments producer, is the first to admit that it has not been easy to pent rate to market

“Its not been easy and it is a lot of hard work, which includes early mornings, supervising a staff of nine workers and protracted negotiations with large supermarket chains.

“Its tough but I am driven by the challenge of bring something new into the SA,” says Moyo who used to work as a Entertainment journalist at a weekly Sunday paper in Harare before he migrated to SA.

Moyo also is the proud owner of several lodges and says says he has big plans for his lodge business saying not only does he want to have a presence in all of SA’s province but wants Budiriro Leisure resorts to become an

international brand.

“I may not have anything unique to offer at my lodges as they cater for all kinds of people, probably with the same amenities as any other lodge, but my goal is to make it a brand that comes from Africa and not from overseas to Africa, says Moyo adding: “My dream is to take the Budiriro brand beyond SA’s borders like what the Hilton group of hotels has done or Holiday”.

Although Moyo has been in SA after leaving Zimbabwe for greener pastures since 2003, the Zvishabane born businessman has clearly not forgotten his roots and want to take take Budiriro Leisure Lodges to Zimbabwe especially to tourist resort towns such as the Victoria Falls.

Adding that the reason why he moved to SA was broaden his horizons as he felt he had achieved he could achieve and also take advantage of what he feels is SA ‘s business culture of openness.

“Sadly back home there is no culture of promoting business even from the point of registering a company. People want to know who you are, what you wanna do and it takes months to get that done, unlike here where its cheaper and takes days to do.”

However the 37 year old father of one believes that is very humble about his achievements, and discounts the commonly held view that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, including SA are workers and donot have the spirit of entrepreneurship.

“Zimbabweans are a very enterprising lot, they are always buying selling wares, says Moyo who first ventured into business by buying goods from auctions and reselling them.

“Go to Beitbridge Borderpost, right now and you will see truckloads of all sorts of goods being taken home to be sold. Thats why I disagree with even the Xenophobic attacks that happened recently that foreigners are taking jobs away from South Africans, if that were true then no SA would be working here anymore taking into account the large population of foreigners here , most are actually into business,” he says.