Pretoria: Gauteng women in agriculture were today honoured for their meaningful contribution towards job creation, inclusive economic growth and food security. Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza on Thursday
recognised instrumental women in agriculture during the annual Agri-Business Woman of the Year Awards, formerly known as the Female Entrepreneur of the Year, in Tshwane.
“The link between women and agriculture is crucial as agriculture remains that backbone of our economy; women are the bedrock upon which families are built. We are resolute in our commitment towards the total emancipation of women, and these awards are testament of that resolve,” she said.
The MEC said agriculture remained an important sector in job creation in the country, adding that through agriculture, the nation was able to ensure food security for families and communities, as well as guarantee that no child went to bed hungry.
“It is also through agriculture that we are able to tackle the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and the growing inequality amongst our people,” she said.
Overall winner and Best Agri-Business Woman of the Year (Informal markets, livestock) Flora Shilaluke, 46, told SAnews: “With agriculture, there is no hunger and I have been working very hard since I started farming in 2008.”
Shilaluke, who started farming in Leeufontein near Bronkhorstspruit, took home R140 000. At her 21-hectare farm, she has four farming enterprises with poultry layers as the main enterprise, goats, cattle and vegetables.
Currently, she said the three poultry houses, with 9 000 layers, supplied eggs to supermarkets around Bronkhorstspruit.
Asked about her future plans, the mother of four, who had already created permanent jobs for two women and six local men, said: “I want to expand the production of layers from 9 000 to 20 000 layers as this will help to create more jobs.”
The awards have eight categories that appeal to progressive agribusiness and encouraging food security, value chain activities as well as trade and export.
The categories are Best Female Worker; Best Homestead Food Garden; Best Community Project: Food Gardens and Poultry; Best Young/Disabled Agri-Business Woman of the Year; Best Agri-Business Woman of the Year: Informal Markets (Livestock); Best Agri-Business woman of the Year: Formal Markets (livestock and crops); Best Agri-Business Woman of the Year: Export markets; Best Agri-Business Woman of the Year: Processing and the Overall Winner.
The Agri-Business Woman of the Year Awards is an annual event where women are rewarded for their contribution they have made in agricultural sector.
It was initiated in 1999 by the national Department of Agriculture for the nine provinces, with the aim of empowering women in agriculture by recognising their contribution and increasing their visibility.