"Women play a significant role in the economic subsistence of their families", according to an article published by Fin24 paraphrasing the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana.
W24 as well as other publications have been tracking women in the agricultural space more frequently now as the land debate rages on. One of the first this year, was a profile on Nonku Britton-Masekela, an agripreneur who after starting to grow her own food, turned that into a business.
It's not always easy though. There are many challenges that women face in this space. Many like Mpho Nemekula have faced discrimination from men who undermine their authority and the unchecked fact that women's labour share in African agriculture sits between 60-80%, (stats which are being disputed by the World Bank) is still widely circulated.
According to the Community Survey 2016, the number of agricultural households by sex of household head, men still outnumber women 1 226 329 vs 1 102 714.
These young women are helping to change the picture.
1. Mahlatse Matlakana
Mahlatse is a 20 year old from Limpopo. According to an article by Briefly Mahlatse "has a unique passion for green peppers" and she owns an eight hectare farm which helps feed her community members because she has given them employment of the farm.
Briefly states that Mahlatse started farming at the age of 15 and when she matriculated, she decided to take a gap year and farm green peppers for fun. Her hobby then turned into a business venture. Mahlatse's farm has taken off and she sells her produces to major wholesalers such as "Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, Goseame Wholesalers and Boxer Wholesalers in Polokwane, and a Fresh Produce Market in Musina," reports Briefly.
2. Thato Moagi
Thato is a 27 year old farmer also from Limpopo. She works as the managing director of her family’s farm and according to News Deeply she has won various awards such as "Female Farmer of the Year and Female Entrepreneur of the Year from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries". News Deeply also notes that in 2016, Thato won "the prestigious Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship", which will gave her funding to travel overseas to learn more on a topic she is most interested in which is: Exploring Integrated Beef Production Models.
Thato was chosen for this award because of "the practical work she was doing in her field, such as training and building the capacity of other young women in agriculture," reports News Deeply.
3. Mapaseka Dlamini
This 33 year old runs the Green Sky Rooftop Garden and has one of the largest rooftop urban farms in South Africa, according to iGrow News. She grows a variety of crop ranging from "gourmet lettuce, herbs, peppers, cucumbers and basil plants", which she does by using various hydroponic systems. According to Maximum Yield a hydroponic system is a type of agriculture where "plants are not grown in soil, but rather in trays or grow beds fed by a constant flow of nutrient solution".
Mapeseka is using her knowledge of farming and has found a way to make farming accessible in the inner city.
3. Lerato Senakhomo
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