Index Sundays River female farmer scoops top national award
Date Added: 31 August 2015

The Sarah Baartman proved again for the second year running that it has some of the country’s best female farmers when one farmer from the district was among only two Eastern Cape female farmers, who scooped top national female-farmer honors during the annual Female Entrepreneur of the year awards in Durban on 27 August.

The Sunday’s River Farming Trust, which is based in the Sunday’s River Valley Local Municipality, won the Top Entrepreneur export markets category of the awards, while Nabelemntwini Sawmill Cooperative from OR Tambo District took home the Minister’s special award for female entrepreneurs living with disabilities category.

Dyenga Buyiswa, member of the Trust attributed their success to hard work and commitment. 

“We are happy that we won in this category and we attribute our success to the support we continue to receive from the government and the team work of all members of the trust in the farm,” said Ndyengwa, adding that women can succeed when they commit to their work.

Ndyengwa, she will use the money to build a crèche for all the children of their workers for them to be taken care of while their parents on duty.

Orange and lemon producing Sunday’s River Farming Trust, which won the top provincial award, produces about 2052 tons of oranges and about 1032 tons lemons per year for both export and local markets.

The trust started in 2007 by 20 beneficiaries (seven females, four males, nine youth females) who, while residing in the farm started out as farmworkers but now own the farm after Rural Development and Land Reform department gave them the farm for citrus production.

Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane congratulated the winners, saying they are the epitome of female success in the male dominated agriculture.

“On behalf of the provincial government, I congratulate the two ladies and their businesses for winning in the categories of the national female entrepreneur of the year awards.

They defeated serious challenges and odds to be where they are with their businesses. Their success shows that government support to previously disadvantaged individuals within this sector is yielding positive results.”

The national awards follow provincial chapters held in each province where female farmers competed for provincial prizes, sending winner to the national contest to vie for the coveted female entrepreneur of the year silverware.

In the national awards, the Eastern Cape province was represented by Xoliswa Binda in the Female Farm Worker of the Year category, Siyalakha Backyard Garden in the Subsistence Producer category, Laphum’ikhwezi Co-operative in the entrepreneur Small Holder category, Nozamo Cleaning Supplies in the entrepreneur Processing category, Nabelaemntwini Sawmills in the Entrepreneur Commercial category and Sunday’s River Farming Trust contesting in the Top entrepreneur export markets category.

Qoboshiyane added that the success of the pair in the national awards was a reward for their hard work in the previous season albeit sectoral and climatic conditions.

“Some of the challenges faced by these female farmers include national industry wide black spot induced citrus ban by the European Union and challenges peculiar to the forestry sector.

Therefore this success proves that our female farmers have what it takes to succeed in the farming business and they proved to be amongst the best farmers in the country, continent and the globe,” said Qoboshiyane, adding that government will do everything possible to assist female farmers to succeed inline with existing policies and development programmes.

He said the success of these women and their businesses inspired government to commercialize and professionalize agriculture, support all those in the sector, women in particular with access to finance and market for their growth and success.

Image: Communications Deputy Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Buyiswa Dyenga of Sunday’s River Farming Trust won Top Entrepreneur export markets category of the awards, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, previous overall Winner, Nokwanele Mzamo of Luthando farm, Total SA General Manager, Ms Pansy Mekwa.