Why SA needs more women farmers

Durban – Women play a significant role in the economic subsistence of their families, said Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana at the fifth annual female entrepreneur awards last week.

The awards, in partnership with Total South Africa, honoured female entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.

Zokwana highlighted women's contribution to the economic subsistence of their families in providing them with shelter, producing food, acting as primary caregivers, preparing meals, and walking long distances to fetch firewood and water, among other things.

“Expanding the productivity of women in agriculture is not simply a nice to have, but a necessary and strategic choice unlocking agriculture as a catalyst for radical socio-economic transformation," he said.

Total SA MD Christian des Closières congratulated the winners. He said: "We commend the women in the agricultural sector for the role they play in food security, job creation and contributing towards the economy of the country. They overcame insurmountable odds and turned agriculture into a thriving business."

And the winners are...

The 2015/16 Overall Winner was Julia Shungube from Mpumalanga, who will hold the position up until August 2016 when the new overall winner will be announced.

The Minister’s Special Award for Disabled Entrepreneur went to Avryl Cox. This award affords the minister an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of young women and women living with disabilities who are entrepreneurs.

The Minister’s Special Award for Youth went to Nompumelelo Mdlalose. This award recognises emerging young farmer entrepreneurs.

The award ceremony has the overall winner and the following nine category winners, namely; best female worker, best subsistence producer, top entrepreneur: smallholder, top entrepreneur: processing, top entrepreneur: commercial, top entrepreneur: export markets and two ministerial awards for young and disabled female entrepreneurs in the sectors.

(Total MD Christian des Closière, MEC Andries Gamede, overall winner Julia Shungube, First Lady Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo,
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana, deputy minister Bheki Cele and DG Edith Vries).

The awards categories and winners are:

• Best Female Worker in the Sector is Kelebogile Reah Mampe;
• Best Subsistence Producer in the Sector is Tenjiwe Christina Kaba;
• Top Entrepreneur in the Sector: Smallholder is Nompumelelo Mdlalose;
• Top Entrepreneur in the Sector: Processing is Julia Shungube;
• Top Female Entrepreneur in the Sector: Commercial is Hlengiwe Hlophe; and
• Top Entrepreneur in the Sector: Export Markets is Buyiswa Marrie Ndyenga.

About the awards

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Female Entrepreneur Awards commence at a provincial level and culminate in the national awards. The initiative was conceptualised to encourage and increase the participation of women, youth and people living with disabilities in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

The initiative is aimed at rewarding the efforts and contribution of women, youth and people with disabilities in matters of food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

The Female Entrepreneur Awards is a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, provinces and key stakeholders in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors commencing at a provincial level and culminating in the main event at national level.

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