Youth pioneers organic pesticides business



MASERU – Khothatso Makalo is a 35-year-old entrepreneur who has ventured into agriculture and early childhood education. Her passion for environmentally friendly and sustainable farming led to the inception of the La Luz canopy which is all about organic farming. Makalo holds a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. She, however, nurtured her agricultural literacy in organic farming at Rainbow Eco Farm and Training Centre in 2010 where she worked as a gardener. She worked for a prominent retail store in the country from 2016 to 2020 as a means to fund her businesses.

In 2022, she joined forces with her husband to start a farming project in winter. This fuelled the need for them to protect their produce from pests and diseases. Makalo used her expertise and experiences in organic farming to produce chemical-free organic farm care products on their produce and it yielded exceptional results. Under the canopy of La Luz, they introduced various ventures, including La Luz General Café and La Luz Elementary School of Skills, each reflecting their obligation to community development and empowerment. The elementary school is still in its infant stages. It was registered in 2021 with the Ministry of Education but it is currently under review.

“We are still under review to be registered as a junior school. My husband is a professional teacher, hence the forming of the school. However we believe in starting at base that’s why we started with a day care/nursery school; great things have small beginnings,” Makalo said. The first business they ventured in is La Luz General Café in 2020 February, which they registered with the Ministry of Trade later that year. In identifying the need for safe and effective farm care products, Makalo made use of her expertise and experience to develop a range of organic pesticides and fertilizers. Nevertheless, organic pesticide production took centre stage, setting La Luz Eco Farm apart. The leading product, Multi-Garden Pest Control, she said, gained popularity among farmers across the country. “We started with only one product Multi-Garden Pest Control, and sold over 10 bottles in the first month, and our first customers came back two months later for refills as they were absolutely satisfied with how the product worked wonders,’’ she said. La Luz Eco Farm currently has these products: MULTI-GAREN PEST CONTROL kills and repels all soft body insects (all kinds of worms and aphids), it kills the hard bodied insects like grasshoppers, bagrada bugs and many more. For best results, spray directly on insects, apply at least in every 2 weeks. ZERO FUNGI prevent plants infection like early and late blight, rust and all bacterial infection. For best results apply early before you could any sign of infection, if already affected, remove all the affected leaves, then apply. Repeat the application in two weeks’ time. ZERO SNAIL, kills all snails and slugs. For best results apply in the evening directly on snails and slugs. Keep spraying until you don’t see any signs of them. MEGA LEAF, ORGANIC LIQUID FERTILIZERS, feed plants with needed nitrogen for fast grow, improve soil structure and keeps moisture. For best results, apply directly on the soil, at the plant base. Repeat in every two weeks. The expansion of La Luz Eco Farm’s products is testament to the consistency of their offerings. In their infancy since their launch, the products reached all corners of the country, earning the trust and loyalty of farmers who were trying alternatives to chemical-based pesticides for the first time. The feedback from these farmers and progressing needs have helped the business improve their organic farming solutions for them.

La Luz has increased the size of their product containers due to demand and started to use other platforms of advertising such as radio, to reach a wider audience and attract more potential business. Through these efforts in organic farming and pesticide production, they have not only transformed the agricultural scene for Basotho farmers to embrace environmentally friendly practices and teach the new generation how to better care for the environment.

“Continuous improvement is our core value, we plan to increase the size of the containers to accommodate bigger farmers on every product, just like we did with multi garden pest control where we started with 250ml bottles now we also have it in 500ml bottles,’’ Makalo said. “All our businesses are still at an infant stage, we don’t have any permanent employees yet; we only work with part-time employees and the number is not constant, when there load of work is high we employ more people to assist,” she added. La Luz may be in its infant stages but it has proven to have the fighting spirit to stand the test of time.

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