Western Cape Celebrates Women in Agriculture
As part of women’s month celebrations, the Western Cape’s top female entrepreneurs in agriculture were celebrated.
The winners of the 15th annual Female Entrepreneur Awards were crowned at the weekend. The ceremony was hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and took place in Wellington on Friday, 22 August 2014.
The competition is a joint effort between the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and all other provincial departments of agriculture. It seeks to reward the efforts and contribution of women in food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, said it was important to celebrate the Western Cape’s entrepreneurial heroes.
Since its launch in 1999, 278 women in agriculture have entered the competition. Of these, six have gone on to clinch the national award.
Minister Winde urged the winners and finalists of this year’s competition to become change agents and bring more women and young people into agriculture, so that the sector can grow. “Recognising women in agriculture is not just about tonight’s event, it’s an ongoing process. One of my top priorities is to see female entrepreneurs in agriculture become beneficiaries of land reform programmes", said Minister Winde.
In her address, Carole Kirkwood-Pretorius, last year’s winner in the Top Entrepreneur Smallholder category, praised the department and the competition and said it had taken her from a smallholder farmer to a commercial farmer. Kirkwood-Pretorius had a piece of advice for women in agriculture: “Follow your dream, don’t wait for things to happen”.
Joyene Isaacs, Head of Western Cape Department of Agriculture said the evening aimed to highlight the role of women in agriculture – one that is often overlooked.
This year the national competition will be hosted in Mafikeng, North West on 22 August, where the provincial category winners will contend for the coveted national awards. An overall national winner will also be selected.
Full list of winners:
Best Worker – Claudie Daniels
Claudie Daniels works at a storage facility where they bottle, label and dispatch, both locally and internationally, wines for wineries in the area.
Subsistence – Nomonde Kweza
Nomonde Kweza has a vegetable garden and she also farms with earthworms which she uses in her garden. She assists other people who want to start gardens and provides them with worms.
Smallholder – Eleanore Swart
Eleanore Swart grows tomatoes in tunnels for various local markets.
Processing – Ilse Ruthford
Ilse Ruthford is in a managerial position and is one of the trust shareholders. She also initiated a vegetable garden for the workers. They have just started bottling their own wine made from grapes grown on their land.
Commercial – Jeanne Groenewald
Jeanne Groenewald farms with chickens and is the owner of Elgin Free Range Chickens. She is the biggest supplier of certified free range chickens to many markets including Woolworths.
Ministerial Award – Samantha Smiles
Samantha Smiles has a diverse farming enterprise focusing on sheep and wool. She also has cattle and pigs.