Mthatha Express

Female farmers bestowed with certificates of excellence

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Tsolo grain and vegetable farmer, Zoliwe Nombewu, seen here during the maize harvest on her farm on August 8. Photo:SUPPLIED
Tsolo grain and vegetable farmer, Zoliwe Nombewu, seen here during the maize harvest on her farm on August 8. Photo:SUPPLIED

EASTERN Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) MEC, Nonkqubela Peters, recently bestowed certificates of excellence on two female farmers from Mhlontlo and King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipalities, to commend them for their strides in agriculture.

Siphesihle Kwetana and Zoliwe Nombewu were honoured during the Female Entrepreneur Awards ceremony, hosted by the DRDAR in East London on August 17.

Kwetana (27) is the sole owner of Siphe Development and Capacitation Agency (SIDECA), an enterprise that commercially produces a wide variety of vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, butternut and green pepper.

She supplies her produce to several supermarkets in Mthatha, Tsolo and Qumbu that include SPAR, Pick n Pay, Ideal Veggies and Food Lover’s Market.

Her farming enterprise is in Kaplan Village, outside Mthatha.

“I am a self-taught farmer, who started commercial farming in Qumbu in 2016 but moved my business to Mthatha in 2016.

“The certificate that the MEC gave me really means a lot and will encourage me to do more and reach for even greater heights in farming,” said Kwetana.

She said her farming enterprise had created 12 permanent employment posts for locals in her village as well as 15 temporary employment opportunities.

DRDAR has also supplied her thriving farming enterprise with a bore hole to mitigate the production challenges that were posed by limited access to water.

Nombewu (43), on the other hand, is an award-winning grain and vegetable farmer, with 200 hectares of land, where she cultivates grains, such as maize, dry beans and vegetables.

She began her farming venture by planting 2ha of land in 2008, which had extended to a whopping 200ha in 2020. She cites passion and faith as the driving forces behind her success.

Nombewu was, in 2018, approached by subsistence farmers in the Madwaleni Administrative Area in Tsolo, where she operates her farming business, and helped them fence and plant their fallow land.

Apart from the land, Nombewu also owns a fleet of farming machinery, including four heavy duty dicers, six reapers, 12 tractors and boom sprayers. DRDAR has also assisted Nombewu with mechanisation, a bore hole and production inputs.

“I grew up in a farming family, as my father was unemployed and used agriculture to feed his family, so farming was instilled in me at a very young age,” Nombewu said. “The certificate of excellence from DRDAR is encouraging and gives me confidence to continue with farming and not be deterred by being a female farmer from a rural village,” Nombewu added.

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