Meet Thato Mabonela the owner/Director of Gog’Lilly (Pty) Ltd and a beneficiary of the Dr Sam Motsuneyane Rural Development Foundation. My journey started back in 2015 when I and 6 other students through the Dr Sam Motsuenyane Rural Development Foundation attended an internationally accredited internship programme pertaining mainly to groundnuts agro-processing in ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) in India Hyderabad. Coming back we registered a co-operative and through the Foundation we received funding from Eskom to buy farming implements and processing machinery. In 2016 Gog’ Lilly brand was born and we started to farm peanut seeds and process peanuts into natural peanut butter and also roasted, salted peanuts snacks.
In early 2019 the co-operative collapsed and I as the only founding member I registered Gog’Lilly (Pty) Ltd as a private entity in May 2021, because of the MOU between the Foundation and Tshwane South TVET College-Odi Campus in Mabopane I am based in the campus where I am producing peanut butter and roasted, salted peanuts.
Gog’Lilly operations was in response to the socio-economic problems of youth unemployment, lack of youth involvement in agriculture and food security. What I want to achieve is a huge customer base by leveraging the nutritional benefits of peanut butter and or peanuts. There is a need for large capital injection for technological upgrades to elevate current operations to commercial status if we are to successfully get and retain clients in bulk and consistent buying of formal markets. Like most SMME’s I face challenges for example access to market, continuous product testing, funds, just to name a few.