Accolades for top women in agriculture

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The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ annual Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) programme has recognised the role of women in South Africa’s agricultural sector for 17 years.

Accolades for top women in agriculture
Pictured from left is Free state MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Oupa Khoabane, with overall provincial winner Kobanku Msibi and provincial HOD Peter Thabethe to the right.
Photo: Supplied

The awards are intended to “honour the efforts and contribution of women, young females and women with disabilities for the role they continue to play in food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and economic growth within the sector”, according to a statement by DAFF.

This year’s theme is “Proclaiming progress towards women’s empowerment”.

The winners of this year’s national final will be announced at a gala event at Emnothweni Southern Sun in Mbombela, Mpumulanga, on 27 August. Significantly, this takes place towards the end of Women’s Month.

Significantly, this takes place towards the end of Women’s Month.

Most of the provincial agriculture departments across South Africa have already hosted their respective awards ceremonies, except for Limpopo and North West.

Awards were presented across several different categories, with each province naming an overall winner.

Farmer’s Weekly spoke to Kobanku Msibi (63), overall winner in the Free State. She said that she wanted to tell all women – young, old, widows and women with absent husbands – that they could provide for themselves and their communities.

Msibi entered her Lejwe-Motho Primary Cooperative, which comprised herself, four other women and a man, under the subsistence category. She started the vegetable farming initiative after seeing a need among children who lived near her.

She said that while the children would receive food via nutrition programmes at schools, there was often no food at home. “They don’t get food on weekends. I could see there were children in need,” she said.

Msibi was extremely proud of the accolade. “Thank you so much. I am so happy.”

She will represent Free State with the rest of the provincial category winners at the national awards later this month, as well as compete for the overall national title.