Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform: Women Empowerment through Agriculture

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women empowerment agriculture

The Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) has taken a significant step towards empowering women in agriculture by promoting household food gardens. These initiatives spark economic freedom for both farmers and their employees, as evidenced by the success of Nontuthuzelo Mbele from Goso Village in the Alfred Nzo District.

Nontuthuzelo Mbele’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Mbele began her household food garden in 2014, initially growing vegetables for her family with no intention of selling her produce. However, her dedication to subsistence farming led her to enter the Women Entrepreneur Awards (WEA), where she won in the subsistence category at both district and provincial levels.

Reflecting on her achievements, Mbele expressed her gratitude: “In 2019, I entered this competition and won in the Best Subsistence Producer Category. This year, I also entered the competition under the Smallholder Category and won. I also won the overall producer prize for the district. I thank God for giving me strength to farm and to continue employing jobless youths. This means my company is not going to fade any time soon.”

The Impact of Mbele’s Success

Mbele’s journey highlights her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to her community. With her 2019 winnings, she purchased water tanks to store water for irrigation and seedlings. She plans to use her most recent winnings to add 10,000-liter water tanks to aid her burgeoning farming enterprise, which includes beef, vegetable, poultry, and piggery production.

Her produce is now sold at local food retail stores such as Spar, Spargs, a local lodge, and schools around Goso. This growth demonstrates the potential of the DRDAR’s household food garden initiative to transform the lives of women entrepreneurs in agriculture.

Continued Support for Women Entrepreneurs

Alfred Nzo District Director Buhlebuyeza Nodola appreciates the efforts of the participants and the assistance provided by the Extension and Advisory Services Officers. He said, “the department is further helping some of them with various things such as farming inputs and feed. We also assist some in cropping, and we are going to continue assisting farmers, women, and youth, in particular.”

The OR Tambo District will be hosting its awards ceremony in Mthatha, highlighting the continuous support for women entrepreneurs in agriculture.

Recognizing Women’s Contributions to Agriculture

The WEA competitions and the initiatives by DRDAR showcase the importance of supporting and recognizing women’s contributions to the agricultural sector. The success stories of women like Nontuthuzelo Mbele serve as an inspiration to other aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that with dedication, hard work, and the right support, women can excel in the agricultural sector and contribute to the upliftment of their communities.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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