Madimbo: Cultivating Growth in a Community

 Madimbo: Cultivating Growth in a Community


Madimbo Group:

At Madimbo we specialise in Agricultural Farming, Agri Consulting, Plant Hire and much more…

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Rooted in the Makhado district of Limpopo, a collection of farms are owned by the Madimbo Agri Group, which is then used to sustain the community. Gene Khorommbi Likhanya, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Madimbo Agri Group and a board member of Fio Agri Group, initiated this venture in 2005 by cultivating Beaumont Cultivar on a 1.5-hectare piece of communal land.

Since then, the business has flourished, expanding to 17.5 hectares and still growing.

But the road to success is rarely smooth. Over the past 18 years, the Madimbo group has grappled with financial difficulties, ever-changing market dynamics, crop pests, and a plethora of other issues that demanded innovative thinking and solutions. “Business is not easy,” Gene explains. “When one business is down, how do you borrow from the other business to keep afloat?” 

And that is where community comes in. Madimbo is constantly seeking opportunities to empower the local community – especially women – by giving them job opportunities and a way to live sustainably.  

Gene’s vision for the Madimbo Agri Group continues to evolve and expand. Beyond macadamias and avocados, the group has ambitious plans for further growth and development, including banana plantations, spinach, and lettuce crops.

 “We’ll be putting up big orchards in the Venda lands. It’s not necessarily about Venda, I think we feel comfortable there because its home. But wherever we get opportunities we’ll be putting up farms and producing avocados on a big scale.” 

Another crop that is frequently overlooked by South African farmers is sugar beans. The organisation is focused on solutions that have high impact and high value, and these beans fit that description perfectly. “80% of our sugar beans in South Africa are imported, so we need to do some import substitutions.” Apart from the health benefits associated with sugar beans, their cultivation offers a multitude of job opportunities. The company is also engaged in processing, product development, and diversification, all while seeking markets to ensure the sustainability of this initiative. “If you taste sugar beans, it tastes better than meat. And a lot of people don’t even know it because there is not a lot of across to the product.” 

Gene explains that these are the projects that form the heartbeat of Madimbo. “That’s really the kind of stuff Madimbo is excited about; how do we create impact with the biggest results where everybody wins?” 

Gene Likhanya by Macadamia trees by one of the Madimbo farms
Gene Likhanya by Macadamia trees by one of the Madimbo farms

When asked about his relationship with Fio Capital, he shares that Fio has challenged his dreams and vision, but in an exceptionally constructive manner; “Now we dream as a collective”. Gene notes that the entire ecosystem that Fio has fostered around him serves as a space where ideas can be shared, advice sought, and the business can thrive.  “You know, business can be lonely at times, and you don’t know how to solve things by yourself.” 

In the journey of the Madimbo Agri Group and their community-orientated leader, the path to success has been marked by unwavering dedication and a commitment to empowering not only the organisation, but also the surrounding community. As they continue to expand and diversify, embracing new agricultural ventures and promoting import substitution, their impact reaches far beyond the fields, and focuses on sustainability for generations to come.

Teagan Cloete

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1 Comment

  • very inspirational, well done Gene!

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