Western Cape Women Farmers Celebrated
Suraya Cassien of the Langkloof, Liz Eglington from Van Wyksdorp in the Klein Karoo, Janine Wessels of Somerset Wes and the Masithandane Garden Project of Gugulethu were awarded as the top female farmers for the Western Cape on Tuesday, 9 August, National Women's Day.
The aim of the competition is to honour women in agriculture who makes a difference as female farmers in this once male dominated environment, while also being role models to the various communities.
"We have to understand that there is no place for a "we" and "them" approach in agriculture," says Minister Cobus Dowry. "Everyone in Agriculture should be equally at home and should know his or her role within Agriculture. As in all other aspects of life, we want to acknowledge and honour the invaluable contribution that women are making in this sector. The annual Female Farmer Competition is one of the venues of doing just that."
Suraya Cassiem, winner of the category for Top Producer for Export Markets, farms with proteas on her farm Molenriver in the Langkloof. She was recently awarded an exporting contract worth millions to the Netherlands. She also plans to expand her farming operation on the more than 1000 ha land by planting and producing roses.
Liz Eglington, Top Producer for National Markets, from the farm Buffelshoekfontein in the Olyven River Valley outside Wyksdorp is an organic olive farmer. Due to her commitment to natural and community based farming methods and her passion for the environment, she makes an invaluable contribution in the region. The produce from her 30 000 olive trees is used for table olives and olive oil.
Janine Wessels, winner of the category Top Producer for Informal Markets, farms outside Somerset-Wes with approximately 180 laying hens. The difference: her chickens are not only free-range chickens but are also fed only with organic and natural feeds. Consequently she is able to sell the eggs as organic produce at various organic and farmer markets in and around Stellenbosch.
The women from the Masithandane Garden Project in Gugulethu won the category for the Top Producers for Household Use. This group of women deserved their prize on account of their winning spirit and their compassion for the community, the aged and the ill. They farm with vegetables on 1350 m2 .
These four winners will compete in the national competition for the South African crowns on the 27th August in Kimberley.