_: Chaneng Farming and Primary Cooperative for the Blind Project defied all odds to scoop the R1 million overall cash prize and R125 000 for winning the Top Entrepreneur Small Holders Category at the prestigious Department of Agriculture Forestry and Forestry Female Entrepreneur 2013 – North West Provincial Awards.
The annual provincial awards were held under the theme: “Harnessing Women’s talent for sustainable food security a vision beyond 2030″ at the Mmabatho Convention Centre in Mahikeng on Friday night.
In congratulating the project that is growing spinach and onions in a green house on a 2 hectare area in Chaneng village near Sun City, North West Premier Thandi Modise said that the achievement represents the triumph of the human spirit, the determination, courage and resilience of the women who marched to the union building on 9 August 1956 and should inspire women and people with disabilities in the province, across the country and the world over.
Coordinator of the cooperative Ntebo Sedikwe, 56, who is partially blind said their accomplishment is a clear example that anyone can achieve whatever they want if they are dedicated.
“We are a team of 12 people. Eight are completely blind and four are partially blind, but we do not let our condition define us. I wish to say to people out there that they must stop fighting for grants and do something for themselves that can have serious impact in their lives” said the overjoyed Sedikwe.
In her keynote address delivered at the glittering awards evening where female enterprises shared R4.5 Million, Premier Modise said that South African women are envy to their equals worldwide and a pride to its nation that loves them. Modise called on the North West people to build upon the achievements that women continue to register in the agricultural sector.
“This celebration in a business unusual manner is showing remarkable contribution, creativity and passion that women have made in economic agriculture, sustainable economic women empowerment and social development,” she added.
Premier Modise said that though the North West province is one of the most productive agricultural region, women can’t be emerging forever.
“As these awards are now in their 14th year, we must be able to say through our programmes, women are able to graduate from subsistence to commercial farming,” she stressed.
Modise said that the provincial government wants to ensure that most women become the beneficiaries of the land in its endeavour to reverse the legacy of the 1913 Native Land Act that paved the way for the land dispossession of black people in South Africa. The Best Subsistence Producer Category went to Kenalemang Kgoroeadira affectionately known as “Mama Kena” of the Thojane Organic Farming.
“It is a pleasure to win this award especially in the year that we are celebrating 100 years of land reform. We have to reclaim our land, fight poverty and restore food security in our country,” said the elated Mama Kena after receiving the R75 000 prize which also came with R100 000 for infrastructure development.
Philani Agriculture Cooperative from Stilfontein received R50 000 for the MEC’s Special Award from the jubilant MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono who acknowledged the cooperative for its effort to fight poverty and unemployment in the former mining town.
Barui Driehoek Cooperatives scooped the big prize of R125 000 and a further R750 000 in the category, Top Entrepreneur Commercial Market. The livestock project based in the Forest Hall Farm in Tosca was established by Matshediso Molale-Mooketsi in 2008. Matshediso is the current recipient of the 2012 ABSA ARC emerging beef farmer of the year award.
Linda Grobler of Witkrans Citrus and Nursery Farm Project received R32 000 as a run-up in this category. Her project produces lemons, oranges and citrus nursery trees for the City Deep, Tshwane Fresh Produce, Klerksdorp and is also exporting citrus to Botswana and Namibia. As social responsibility, Linda has built Vuka Primary School which caters for 100 children of farm workers and dwellers children on her farm.
The prize for the Best Female Worker in the Sector went to Abea Phakoe, a farm worker at Maswela Crop Production project which produces maize, sunflower and tobacco in Skinsdrift in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District. She won R50 000.