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Lawyer turned agripreneur shares her amazing journey

Hope the integrity of my story and journey be a lighthouse for future agripreneurs especially for young girls and women who hope to take on the task of making Africa a breadbasket continent.”

This was said by a lawyer turned agriprenuer, Shandini Naidoo, while sharing her amazing journey with Mzansi Agriculture Talk. Shandini, started her career as an aspiring lawyer, having completed her undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at Wits University.

Q: I notice that you were/are a lawyer. Can you please take us through your journey to becoming an agripreneur and how you developed the interest?

A: Yes, that is correct. I was born and raised on a farm on the outskirts of the South of Johannesburg. Being raised a farm-girl, with a deep love for the outdoors and animals, you could say farming and agriculture have been a part of my life from the very beginning.

I started my career as an aspiring lawyer, having completed my undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at Wits University. Thereafter, I landed a legal internship at a reputable South African law firm. During my legal career, I worked mostly in the mining and commercial law sectors, which led me back to agriculture. From my experience at the law firm; I was exposed to the rehabilitation of mines, where agriculture projects were on the agenda. It was then that my interest sparked and I took a deeper dive into the opportunities that the sector had to offer.

In 2016, after a discussion with one of my mentors about the ins and outs of international trade and the opportunities abroad to export South African agricultural produce, the idea came about to look into the export of Avocados. Intrigued by the exponential growth of the avocado exports industry at the time, I started to research the basics of how the agriculture export trade worked.

This is around the same time I decided to found my company Avoport Pty Ltd – an Agricultural Vendor Operation Portal. Driving home from work one afternoon, I was struggling with the idea as how to export Avocados (a highly perishable product) before it perished. As I drove by the airport, a plane flew over-head and that’s when the idea struck me, avocados will be easily and effectively transported via air, hence the name Avoport (Avocado’s plus Airport).

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