The search for the province’s top female farmers came to a conclusion in style – as the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development honoured the finalists of various categories at the annual Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) Gala event hosted in Warrenton last week Wednesday. The Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) were first established in 1999 to recognize the countless efforts of women in the agricultural sector towards the alleviation of poverty through food security, job creation and economic growth.
The 2018 edition of the awards marks the first time an overall winner from the Northern Cape coming from a small category would represent the province at a National level. Departmental Spokesperson Phemelo Manankong said it would be the first time in the 19-year history of the event where overall winner – Pella Food Gardens from the Namakwa District would represent the Province at the National Female Entrepreneur Awards expected to take place towards the end of this month.
“For the first time in the history of the competition the Province will be represented by an overall winner from a small category. Previously overall winners came from categories such as Processing, Export and Commercial,” Manankong elaborated.
This year Pella Food Gardens scooped up the awards for Best Subsistence Producer and the overall Female Entrepreneur Award pocketing a massive cash prize of R 323 000. Some other winners include:
– Best Female Farmworker:
– Victoria Lesau
– Top Entrepreneur:
– Elizabeth PietBooi
– Top Entrepreneur: Processing
– Jana du Plessis
– Top Entrepreneur:
– Commercial – Esther Visser
– MEC Special Awards
Youth: Bertha Seleka
Manankong added that this year the Department received less entries compared to previous years due to the tougher competition rules, more especially in categories like Smallholder, Processing, Export and Commercial. “Factors that disqualified certain contestants included; Lack of an entity registration certificate, the failure to add value to the communities and the inability to adhere to standards and regulations among other things,” said Manankong.
Manankong further praised the awards for not only recognizing the efforts of women in agriculture, but also affording them the platform to make a name for themselves in the industry. “The department wants to encourage, women, youth and women with disabilities to participate in the male-dominated industry and grow from subsistence farmers to commercial farmers. We want to see these women flying through the different categories they have ventured into,” he concluded.
The winners of the various categories will represent the province at the National Female Entrepreneur Awards that will be held on 23 August 2018 in the Eastern Cape Province. The awards also form part of the departments women’s month celebrations.