Female farmers honoured

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pretoria - In yet another initiative to celebrate the success of women, the Gauteng Provincial Government joined other provinces on Friday to honor the excellence of women in farming.

The female farmer of the year, which commemorates its 10th anniversary this year, has for the past decade honoured women who had dedicated their time in making sure that South Africans "do not go hungry" as Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa put it. 

The awards are an effort by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries aimed at deepening the participation of women in the entire agricultural value chain of the country.

Speaking at the event, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane described the awards as a milestone in the emancipation of women in agriculture. 

"The celebration of women achievement this month must continue to symbolise what those who came before stood for," Premier Mokonyane said.

She said it was critical that the struggle for women empowerment is intensified and at all fronts.

"Women need to be more active on commercial farming so they can produce food for commercial market.

"We shall use our space, our brain to make sure everyone who needs to be assisted, is assisted," the Premier added.

She said women should not depend on government but should use the opportunities presented to them to achieve something for their families.

According to a review, published by the department, Gauteng boasts over 1 800 female farmers and the number continued to grow annually. 

Since the inception of the Female Award Farmer of the Year, the ceremony has not only motivated female farmers to increase food production, but has led to the creation of jobs and improved the socio-economic conditions of these emerging farmers.

However, the industry has not been spared the effects of the current global economic crisis with statistics indicating a drop in jobs by 16 percent in the sector.

The top producer for Household Production Award this year went to Ruth Masinga from Thokoza. Ms Masinga, who uses her produce to cook for the needy, plans to become a successful commercial farmer in the long run.

Kutloano Agricultural Project took the prize for the biggest producer for the household consumption category.

However, the day belonged to Noni Mukose Trading, who snatched the overall winner as top producer for the national market. She took home R40 000.