Greenways Farms is one of South Africa’s agricultural success stories, but where did it all come from and where is it going? The founding members of the farm were Vito and Vincent who teamed up to begin the journey of Greenways Farms (PTY) Ltd and created the enduring legacy Greenway Farms stands for. So where did these two very different men meet and team up?
A history of farming
Vito was born in Johannesburg and came from a family who had a long history of farming and nurturing vegetables, going as far back as 1889. A 4th generation South African farmer, he worked hard and received a BSC Aric Econ degree – summa cum laude – at the university of Pretoria in 1983. He worked on the family farm for 7 years and then decided to go-it-on-his-own. He left the family business to start his own operation and soon after that he and Vincent became partners.
Vincent Sequeira was born in Johannesburg where his family had been farming since 1917. Vincent was a 3rd generation South African farmer, but he never had the privilege of working on the family farm due to the untimely loss of his father. He spent a few years in farm management and had some foreign exposure in the USA. But the call to farm was in his blood and he took all his courage and resources and started Greenway Farms in 1988. He started small with 20 Ha of ground and all he had to his name were his wits and farming background. His area of expertise on the farm is that of an agriculturalist. Vincent can make anything grow and he has had his food producing skills honed over many years.
A commitment to stewardship
Both Vito and Vincent are focused on the long-term and are legacy driven. They see themselves as stewards of a legacy and not owners of a farm. They believe each generation must strive to enhance the legacy of the next generation. It is this vision of stewardship that empowers them to take a long-term view of their enterprise.
Unlike many in today’s world, the idea of ‘instant gratification’ holds no appeal for them. They are committed to the slow, steady and valuable returns received from agriculture. They believe and know farmers will always be part of South Africa’s future. And their plan is simply ‘feed the nation’
Building for the long-term
There are no quick returns in farming and Greenway Farms understands this, building things to last. At the heart of everything is their belief in excellence, which is at the heart of all their staff relationships. The majority of their staff have been with them for many years and Greenway Farms has developed a particularly close relationship with the Xhosa staff. At the age of 23 Vito Rugani travelled to the Transkei to secure employees and for more than 30 years, this relationship has brought much reward for all.
Investing in people
Greenways Farms believes in people. People are the life of any business and Vito and Vincent believe in edifying and empowering people to move forward. Whether it is skills or confidence their staff need, they are committed to realising it for their people and this includes the relationship they have built up with their marketing and sales staff – and of course their customers.
Many of their customers did business with their fathers and grandfathers – and are part of the enduring legacy of life in fresh produce. A legacy which lasts for generations.
Moving forward into the future
The legacy is now entering its second generation. Vito is married to Nomakeme and has two daughters and six sons. Vincent is married to Ana and has one son and five daughters. Between them both, they have eight children committed to and working on the Greenway Farms legacy. The farming of the future is highly complex and technical and they’ve equipped themselves with the necessary skills ranging from computer programming, charted accounting, marketing, sales, financial management, engineering, agronomy and ergonomics. It’s a demanding world, but as stewards they’ll rise to the occasion and meet the challenge.