Peter Nyathi, the founder of Tropical Mushrooms, supplies more than 300 stores in the Shoprite Group. Picture: Elaine Banister
Peter Nyathi, the founder of Tropical Mushrooms, supplies more than 300 stores in the Shoprite Group. Picture: Elaine Banister

Success mushrooms for farmer with a dream

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Apr 17, 2021

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CAPE TOWN, April 16 (ANA) - Starting a business has never been an easy task, but one Gauteng man has turned his dream into a reality.

Peter Nyathi, from Magaliesburg in Gauteng, used to be employed by a leading grower and supplier of fresh mushrooms, where his dream of starting his own farm came about.

He decided to risk it and run solo, eventually starting his own business, Tropical Mushrooms.

Nyanthi, who holds a BSc Honours in agricultural economics, has years of experience within the industry.

He initially struggled to find funding for his business, until one of the biggest retailers in the country stepped in and opened doors for him.

In 2016, the Shoprite Group invested in Nyathi’s dream.

He said they started supplying Shoprite and Checkers that same year, giving Nyathi a foothold in the market.

Nyathi said he will forever be grateful for the faith Shoprite put in him and his business.

Today, Nyathi is a powerhouse in the industry. He employs 175 people who work on variable contracts in line with his company’s fluctuating yields and peak times for picking mushrooms.

His scrumptious mushrooms are delivered daily to the Shoprite Group’s Centurion distribution centre, from which they are distributed to 364 stores.

However, Nyathi was not immune to the heavy blow dealt to the economy by the Covid-19 pandemic and the hard lockdown that was implemented across South Africa in March last year.

In a statement released by the Shoprite Group, Nyathi said the businesses that closed down were 50 percent of his customers and they were only left with major retailers as clients.

Had it not been for these major retailers, his business would have come to a complete standstill, he said.

“We were able to survive, and as businesses have reopened business has now gone back to almost normal,” Nyathi said.

Nyathi, who is passionate about not only farming but mushrooms, too, hopes more South Africans can share his love for them.

He said the country was still trailing behind in terms of consumption relative to countries such as the US and Australia.

Nyathi said it would be great if people were encouraged to eat healthier foods, which include mushrooms and which reduce meat consumption and lower cholesterol.

African News Agency

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