On the 09th of June 2010 the Department of Agricultural, Vhembe district celebrated Municipality and district Female Entrepreneur of the year awards at Nwanedi NTK, Musina. Ms E. Raphunga Senior Manager at Vhembe District, Department of Agriculture said Female Entrepreneur awarded category such as Best Female Worker, Subsistence, Top Young Entrepreneur, Smallholder, commercial, Export Market excluding overall winner.
She added that the awards are meant for the women who excelled in their own business and in case of partnership, ownership of women should be 80% and companies registered under their names. However, she regards those who have been receiving government funding in Top Entrepreneur Category for the past years as eligible entries.
Mr. Masala Makumule from Vhembe District municipality informed people about R200.000 which the municipality has put aside for winners in order to encourage rural women to take agriculture seriously as it is the only reliable tool to fight poverty and unemployment hindering rural women. “We want to train agricultural farmers so that Vhembe District could be one of the best region in South Africa in terms of exporting agricultural products guided by the fact that Vhembe is rich in agricultural sites. We are excited that we have just opened the Vhembe Fresh Produce Market in Tshakhuma village which will help our farmers to package their products to be sold in Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market,” said Makumule.
When responding on behalf of winners, Ms Annikie Malukuta, was very excited and her first words were of discouraging those women who wait for the child grant and those who gambles, she praises the hard workers. The time for rural women to sit at home is over, they have to get up and do something for themselves rather than waiting for their husband to provide. She reminds women that they are the role model of their children and their children becomes what thy are because they contribute in shaping them. Let us be good examples to our children, she added.
Ms Malukuta 47 years old mother is one of the active female farmers in Nwanedi Farms near Musina and grows tomatoes, butternut, and watermelon among others went away with R30 -000 cheque and awarded with a certificate. Ms Malukuta regarded herself as an employer as she has 15 permanent workers at her farm. I am in control even though I am a woman and that marked my prosperity. “lets do something on our own and stop begging food from our husband, I never thought one day I will be called Baas, but today they call me “Bass” and I consider myself as one. I sell tomatoes as far Mozambique and I can make R100.000 per day. I need more land to showcase my commitments and my farming skills. If I can get another 50 hectors may be I can do better”, added Ms Malukuta.
Cllr Lucy Mulaudzi, who was representing the executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality Dr. Falaza Mdaka urges rural women to actively involved in the agricultural project as it is the only strongest tool for fighting poverty. She salutes effort of female leaders in Agriculture for the positive role they played in the communities and taking the lead in social upliftment of agricultural projects, skills development and training. The competition started as Female Farmer in 1999 with the aim of encouraging and increase the participation of women in agriculture activities. The event awarded the efforts and contribution of women in food security matters through backyard, largescale production as well as value-chain activities. The event started at the municipality level to District to Province and further went to national level in August as part of celebrating women’s months. The event became the empowerment platform that recognizes the entrepreneurial skills of women in the sector.
Since the initiation of the awards our district have some participant such as Marie Anna (2002) , Senwamadi Tendani (2003) , Tshilande Margret(2004),Malukuta Annikie(2005), Ndou Ndivhaleni Selina(2007)and Mulaudzi Asnath(2009) who made it to provincial level as well as Mukatuni Pauline(2000) and Mulaudzi Livhuwani Martha(2006) who made it to national level level.