Agriculture is a field where many women face gender-based barriers. But there are also many success stories out there. In fact, in fields where more women work or have worked, Let’s celebrate these female heroes in agriculture this Women’s Month!
1. Keneilwe Raphesu “Farmer Bae”
Keneilwe is a 23-year-old livestock farmer from the Vaal who farms cows, pigs, and crops. Her love for farming started at a very young age, even though she pursued it in the past few years. Her farming journey was not that easy, but she just knew how to manage it till today. She learned farming from her father who has been farming for more than a decade. She is one of the young women who started from scratch with no agricultural educational background.
2. Sibongile Zondo “BongiG farm”
Sibongile Zondo is the founder of BongiG farm, a poultry farm based in the North West province in Potchefstroom. She is inspired by her love for nature and the natural process of growth. Her biggest achievements have to be being nominated for the best female farmer in Northwest 2020. Sibongile Zondo started her business from the ground to where it is today, this is also one of her biggest achievements.
3. Ntsako Shipalana “Olori farm”
Ntsako Shipalana started her poultry farming journey back in 2018. Her privilege was to have a father that supported her farming journey and assisted her with starting the business. Her biggest achievements are being able to produce competent poultry farmers through manuals and consultations. At first, Ntsako used to raise only chicks till their maturity stage and sold live chickens, today she sells live and cleaned chickens as it is convenient for her customers
4. Nontobeko ” Blooms & Roses Avenue”
The owner of Blooms & Roses Avenue speaks about challenges faced during the pandemic, which are the rapid increase in wholesale prices, where selling at a profit is challenging if you are trying to maintain a certain price point. She explains that flowers availability changes with seasons. However, an alternative to getting flowers that are out of season for people that want them can always be made. Nontobeko says her greatest achievement was when she received a call from an Agency to install flowers on vintage Rolls.
5. Manti Maifadi
Manti Maifadi grew up watching her dad grow food for her family. Her 83-year-old grandfather still grows his own food to this present day. Many of the plants she grows in her garden come from seeds her grandfather has had in the family for years. She is the owner and gardener at Naledi farm.
How can organizations contribute for women’s dignity in agricuture
1. Education and training
Developing a bursary program for tertiary education and skills development. Improve accessibility and diversity of training programs focused on women specifically. Online programs and videos, accredited with training institutions, will offer women more opportunities. Training on how to earn and keep the respect of men.
2. Family and parenting support
The availability of affordable and easy-to-access childcare will support women at all levels in the industry. Furthermore, raising the awareness of gender equality in the household among children, men and women could minimize gender inequality in the long term.
Raising awareness of gender equality among men, women, and children in the industry at large. This also entails dealing with cultural differences and traditional values that may hinder gender equality. Roadshows and farmworker competitions that emphases women’s dignity. Motivate women to take responsibility in the workplace.
Women in agriculture are winning the challenge in their field and making a difference in the lives of many. However, there is still much more to be done and that can be possible if we give them the support they need.