PRIMARY and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo is a businessman who believes he has laid a solid foundation for a sustainable diversified venture that will be passed from generation to generation in his family. The Deputy Minister, a widower is the chairman of Eneitech Logistics and his five children serve in different roles within the company.
The firm which was registered in 2015 is involved in stockfeed, trucking, livestock farming, brick making and waste management. The Deputy Minister said at one time he raised US$100 000 after selling cattle.
In terms of brickmaking, he said their machine can do up to 25 000 standard bricks per day. The Deputy Minister said he started his business during his time as a teacher in the late 1980s when he secured a bank loan to start a piggery project, which was extremely successful but moved to cattle farming, before expanding the business.
Lack of continuity is one of the major problems affecting indigenous businesses in the country, with many children of deceased entrepreneurs failing to sustain family enterprises. With him in the cockpit and his children on board, the deputy minister is creating something bigger than him.
A Chronicle news crew sat down with the Deputy Minister to talk about his business journey. He revealed that he started with 20 cattle but his passion for livestock saw the number grow to 400. He retired from the education sector in 2017 and was elected Matobo North MP in 2018, before he was appointed a Deputy Minister.
“When I started in 1988, I borrowed from the bank to buy piglets and I engaged Matobo Rural District Council to build my kraal where I used to supply the Cold Storage Company. But when I realised that the business was no longer lucrative, it was now taking me too much time to sell the pigs, I sold all my pigs and bought 20 cattle,” he said.
He said seven years ago he sold some of his cattle and raised US$100 000 to diversify the family business. “In 2015 we sold 138 cattle and got about US$100 000 and we bought three haulage trucks and a trailer and as the business grew, we increased our trailers. But we have maintained that number because we thought the business was very lucrative but when we were in it, we realised it was not what we expected. So, we have maintained the number of trucks,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said they are also into brick making and waste recycling and also produce stockfeed at a commercial scale. The Deputy Minister said they have a stock feed machine at their farm in Matobo.
He however, said despite having one of the top grades of stock feed, they do not get support from indigenous farmers who have no trust in what they do, but added that they made a lot of profit in 2019 when there was a shortage of stock feed.
“The stock feed that we manufacture is of high quality. We sent our formula to Matopo Research Institute for testing and they certified it as being of very good quality. It is actually of better quality than what is supplied by some well-known commercial enterprises in town,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said it is important for individuals to keep livestock as they can cushion them when hardships come. He said he is assured that there will be continuity in the business as everyone in the family is involved. “When you run a business as a family it keeps you together, you create more converging points than just being family members.If you look around the world most of the businesses that are doing well are family businesses.
“There are cases where if the forerunner of the business dies there is no continuity, so we then created Eneitech Logistics, it was largely founded by my son who is a professor in chemical engineering and is involved in energy as he wanted to find energy solutions among other things,” he said
Deputy Minister Moyo said he is the chairman of Eneitech Logistics, while his eldest son, the professor in chemical engineering is the director of the organisation. “My other son is a lawyer so he takes care of the legal aspects of the business, his sibling has a finance degree so he takes care of the financial aspect of the business and the other is a food science nutritionist, she is so much about the stockfeed thing while the other one is a marketing person and does the marketing of the business,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said while some of the children are based in the diaspora the family remains intact and annually during the festive season they hold a family gathering at their farm in Matobo to plan ahead while making reviews on past experiences. “We have found that model quite useful and we are talking almost everyday about things that we are doing. For example, yesterday, we were discussing the brick making business and the marketer was telling me that she has found potential clients as our machine can do up to 25 000 standard bricks per day so we found that we may not be able to supply the market,” he said.
“We keep our supply at 15 000 bricks per day and we have a preferred buyer whom I cannot mention for ethical reasons and we sell the rest to individual buyers. The business becomes the glue of the family and we are able to assist each other. The farm becomes the central part and if there is a problem in the family that requires money, we are able to take from the farm and assist.”
The Deputy Minister said they have a recycling plant in South Africa and they collect used cardboard boxes locally for processing in the neighbouring country.
Deputy Minister Moyo said while he at one point sought bank loans, he does not believe his children need to do the same as he has set a good foundation that capacitates them when there is a need. He said four of his five children have only worked within the family business. “Even this one who is a lecturer in South Africa I don’t think he is renewing his contract next year. He wants to come back,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said while running the business as a family was not his initial plan, he continued delegating his children various roles to a point that they realised they had all the expertise needed in running a business. Deputy Minister Moyo’s youngest son Mr Mthokozisi Moyo (29) said there is more dedication when one is working in a family business.
“If it is a family business then what it means is that it is mine as well. In all my efforts I devote myself to it because it benefits me. There is continuity of business for instance if the old man leaves the business I have a full understanding of the family business. I can easily continue from where he would have left. It keeps us united as a family,” said Mr Moyo.
He said the challenge with children of most indigenous business people is that instead of complementing their parents they would branch into different sectors instead of growing the family business, which they might even have better comprehension of.–@nqotshili