The Western Cape Department of Agriculture held its prize ceremony for the Female Entrepreneur Awards in Stellenbosch last night, honouring the many hard-working women in the sector and the role they play in food security and growing the economy.
The competition is a joint effort between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the provincial Department of Agriculture. It seeks to reward the efforts and contribution of women in job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Provincial winners are entered into the national competition.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: “This competition serves to recognise the work women are doing in Agriculture, which is such a male dominated space. It honours the role they play in food security, job creation and bringing foreign exchange into our economy. But more than that, each year as we go through the entries, we as a department are able to identify where the women are, see what they’re doing, and find ways to help nurture them, and help their business grow.”
The winners were:
Top entrepreneur: processing | Jeanne Groenewald, Elgin Free Range Chicken
Started 22 years ago with a few backyard chickens, the Elgin free range company now supplies major retailers and employs over 600 people.
Jeanne Groenewald says she hopes to develop and grow her company’s national footprint going forward.
Top Entrepreneur: Subsistence Farming | Magdalene Campbell, Beacon Organic Garden, Mitchell’s Plain
Situated on the school grounds of the Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs, this garden provides skills training, as well as food for the school, the team’s own consumption and the surplus is sold to raise funds.
The garden uses organic farming practices and produces many different kinds of fresh vegetables and herbs.
Top Entrepreneur: Small Holder Farming | Leandre Mitchley, LS Pig Farming
Leandre Mitchley started out with just two pigs, but has grown this to 200- although the road has not been without struggle as she lost about 90 pigs along the way.
Her dream is to turn her business into a commercial facility and to open her own butchery.
Best Female Worker | Marta Klein, Baakensrug Farm
Marta Klein grew up on the farm and has lived there her whole life. She was given the opportunity to train as a butcher and has excelled in her craft. She has a Code 10 drivers’ license and has many different roles and responsibilities on the farm and is even the unofficial nurse, having helped deliver two babies.
Ministerial Award: Youth Entrepreneur | Liebre Jacobs Fruitlips
Liebre Jacobs was the runner up in the processing category and was chosen for the special ministerial award for young entrepreneurs.
Her Picketberg-based business buys third grade fruit and turns it into jams, sauces and chutneys. The business employs 17 permanent staff members, with about 50% of these being youth.
Minister Winde said: “We congratulate these women for their hard work and commitment to their enterprises, but also for the important roles they play in their communities. 300 000 people earn a living in our region because of agriculture, and when we look at our country’s struggle with youth unemployment, this is the sector that can help solve it. There are huge opportunities for young people, and especially young women in this sector and we hope that awards like these that put a spotlight on the various roles women can play in agriculture, will help attract more women to consider careers in the sector.”
The provincial winners will compete in the national awards which will be hosted by DAFF in East London on August 27.
Minister Winde with the Western Cape FEA winners. From left: : Leandre Mitchley, Marta Klein, Minister, Magdalene Campbell, Liebre Jacobs and Jeanne Groenewald.
Picture credit: Gizelle Van Wyk
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044