MEC Manketsi Tlhape addresses 19th annual DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards

MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development in the North West Province Ms. Manketsi Tlhape has encouraged female farmers to take a lead in the sustainable development agenda and to take full advantage of programmes offered by government and its entities aimed at empowering them.

Tlhape has also reassured female farmers of her department’s commitment to continuing supporting their agricultural businesses.

She said these last Thursday, 16 August 2018, during the 19th annual DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) ceremony held in Rustenburg town.

FEA programme is a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, the provinces and key partners in the sector aimed at honouring female farmers, recognising their role in the sector and their entrepreneurial skills in the mainstream agriculture, forestry and fisheries.The major thrust of the programme is to underline the fact that women play a significant role in food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

This year’s competition saw hundreds of female farmers entering and competing in various categories including that of best female worker, best subsistence producer, top entrepreneur smallholder, top entrepreneur commercial and top entrepreneur export markets category.

The award for Best Female Worker went to Kedibone Elisa Itumeleng who works as a product packager at Bloemheuwel Boerdery Trust in Christiana. The farm specialises with vegetables production. Daily duties for this dedicated farm worker include packing of products for market, harvesting, grading products and record keeping.

The award for Best Subsistence Producer was won by Sis Ratos Business Trading from Ngaka Modiri Molema District. Sis Ratos Business trading is a mix farming enterprise. The farm produces sunflower, groundnuts, and maize. They also have livestock and they produce vegetables.

Top Entrepreneur Small Holder Award went to Healthy Life for Achievers Enterprise from Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. The enterprise specializes with production and supply of oranges.

Top Entrepreneur Commercial Award went to Thandolwabo Services (PTY) LTD from Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality. The enterprise specialises with cattle farming.

MEC’s special award was awarded to LMC Farms from Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. The farm specializes with sunflower production.

The main winner of the night was Lefakong Farming. The enterprise scooped an award for Top Entrepreneur Processing as well as the Overall Winner category for the 2018 provincial DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards.

Lefakong Farming specialises with Moringa. The cooperative is located in Moretele in Bojanala Platinum District Municipality.

The enterprise has a great passion for health and wellness and has invested in the quality assurance and true organic nature of Moringa which can be processed into tea, powder and many other forms of natural health foods.

The enterprise was established in 2015 as a family cooperative and they have been receiving extension and advisory services from the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development and the national Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry.

The Founder and Director of Lefakong Farming Cooperative Ms. Maboang Matlou said she was happy to win both the awards.

I am glad that I have won, she said.

Elated Matlou further revealed that her cooperative uses 100% organic methods to produce moringa crop, harvest and agro-process the crop on-site at their farm in Bosplaas.

We currently supply large companies for export purposes and health nutritional stores in and around the province. Our long term goal focuses mainly on ways to value-add our product for introduction into sectors of businesses, she said

Next year, the DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards will be celebrating twenty (20) years of existence.

MEC Tlhape said if women participate in economic activity, own and control productive assets; it leads to development by helping to overcome poverty, reducing inequality and improving children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance.

If women and men have the equal access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets, the consequent 20-30 per cent increase in agricultural production on women’s farms could lead to 100-150 million less hungry people, Tlhape said.

The objectives of the FEA programme are consistent with the vision of the National Development Plan, which makes particular reference to the empowerment of women and their involvement in the country’s economic transformation.

The programme has been identified by the national government as a tool that will encourage female and new entrants, young and old, those with disabilities, small and medium enterprises to enter the agricultural sector.

The process for nominations and entries for provincial 2018 DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards kicked-off early in May this year and the closing date for entries was 15 July 2018.

MEC Tlhape encouraged emerging farmers and those struggling with finances are encouraged to visit the North West Agricultural Fund (NWAF) office which is mandated to provide funding to those aspiring farmers in respect of agricultural development with a particular emphasis on previously disadvantaged individuals who cannot access funding from the commercial banks.

Source: Government of South Africa