Pretoria – A Limpopo woman has walked away with the 2010 Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award pledging to make an impact on the lives of rural communities in her province.
Mavis Mathabatha heads up the Lammangata Moringa community wellness project which cultivates and utilises Moringa Oleifera, a plant possessing remarkable nutritional properties. The plant, which is known as the “Miracle Tree”, possessed more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin A than carrots, more iron than roast beef, and more protein than milk.
The tree is easily cultivated in semi-arid climates, grows quickly, and is not invasive.
The Lammangata Moringa project produces and packages 10 000 tons of all-natural Moringa Leaf Powder. The project, which is situated at Ga-Mphahlele village, employs 12 women and five men.
“I want to make an impact in my area, province and across the country through this project. This award will always serve as a motivation for me to continue working very hard,” said Mathabatha, who also walked away with R365 000 in prize money.
The project also offers Moringa oleifera seedlings and education on nutrition at no cost to rural communities in the province. In 2009, they disseminated over 500 seedlings to rural households and child-care projects in the area and brought nutrition education and Moringa awareness to more than 1000 people.
Looking at the future of the project, Mathabatha said a 25 hectare Moringa plantation has been planned. “This will drastically increase the production and sales of Moringa Leaf Powder and proceeds from leaf powder sales will generate income to support our child-care initiatives,” she said.
The annual Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award event was held in the Eastern Cape at the weekend. It aims to encourage and recognise the participation of women in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors.
Other winners in seven categories included Best Female Worker in the Forestry Industry Award which went to Grace Hlatshwayo from Mpumalanga; Best Subsistence Producer went to the North West project Mogogakgomo, in Fisheries, the award went to Dolie Patricia Mthembu from Kwazulu-Natal.
Serena Vivashe from Northern Cape scooped the Top Young Entrepreneur Award in Agriculture, Nerne van der Merwe from the Free State won the small holder in the Processing subcategory, Karin Pretorius from Gauteng won the Livestock category, the overall winner, Mathabatha also won the Processing subcategory award. The top entrepreneur on export market in the Fisheries category went to Adele Hattingh from the Western Cape.
Source – BuaNews – by Nthambeleni Gabara