The female entrepreneur awards were held at the De Aar town hall in the Pixley Ka Seme district, a day before national women’s Day under the theme; celebrating two decades of women’s victory in agriculture, forestry and fishery.
The MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation, Ms Nomandla Bloem, has congratulated the winners and runners-up of the 2019 Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA).
The awards were established in 1999 to acknowledge the role and contribution of women in the agricultural sector and food security. MEC Bloem explains that the awards also encourage women to participate in agricultural business with the objective of encouraging women in the food production sector.
“It also aims to encourage women to participate in agricultural business with the objective being to recognise the role of women in the food production sector, to address food security and alleviate hunger and poverty”.
The Provincial winners are to represent the Northern Cape at the National event which will take place in Cape Town on the 29th of August 2019.
About 30 female owned farming enterprises entered the competition under various categories such as best Female Worker in the Sectors Winner: Maria Makale, best Subsistence Producer in the Sectors Winner: Ipele Mosadi ,Top Entrepreneur in the Sectors Smallholder Winner: Mrs Nomsa Thoba, Top Entrepreneur in the Sectors Commercial Winner: Motswedi Women, MEC’s Special Award (Youth): Ms Monica Thamage and the Overall winner: Ipele Mosadi
MEC Bloem encouraged winners to invest and plough back into their farming enterprises and buy more production inputs for livestock and crops to expand their businesses.
“Our targeted programmes and initiatives such as Land Care and the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) as well Illima/Letsema are very much focused on the conservation of natural resources like land, water and infrastructure development for continued agricultural production, while Fetsa Tlala Food Production is aimed at addressing issues of poverty, unemployment and food security challenges especially around the rural communities of Pixley Ka Seme District,” said Bloem.
MEC Bloem indicated that in recent years, the Northern Cape has experienced one of the worst droughts.
The magnitude of the drought has affected all the five districts. “We have recommended that all districts of the Province be declared as disaster areas and the drought be classified as a Provincial disaster,” she said.
“The Honourable Premier, Dr Zamani Saul, called a special EXCO meeting, to deliberate on the matter. The issue has been escalated to national government to give direction. Upon receiving guidance, the Premier will make appropriate announcement”.
Matshidiso Parage, owner of the Ipele Mosadi was the overall winner of the 2019 Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA).
The 23-year-old Parage, walked away with R75 000 for best subsistence producer in the sector and R250 000 overall prize money.
She is a cattle and goat farmer on a communal land in Warrenton, Magareng municipality.
After completing matric in 2014, her father, gave her few goats and cows as a business start-up.
“My father has been a farmer for years. I think he saw the passion for farming in me because I would always accompany him to the kraal. After matric I asked him if I can also start my own business, he didn’t think twice, he agreed,” said Parage.
She managed to pay her father all his money back as soon as she started making profit.
“I sell my livestock at the auction and for funerals. I do however, donate for those families who cannot afford to buy a cow to bury their loved ones,” she said.
Parage said she will use the money to improve the kraal, buy more cattle, goats and start sheep breeding.
“The remaining money will be invested in the business,” she said. She intends studying further in the agricultural field.
The Northern Cape African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) chairperson, Mr Sehularo Sehularo joined the chorus and congratulated the winners.
“It is encouraging to see women doing well in farming. They are the heartbeat of farming and food production. We appreciate government’s support in empowering our women. When poverty strikes, it affects women first. These awards will go a long way to assist in the creation of jobs,” said Sehularo.