The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has honoured top women entrepreneurs in agriculture at the 20th Female Entrepreneur Awards (DAFF FEA).
The annual awards ceremony was held in Cape Town on Thursday, as part of Women’s Month.
The awards were held under the theme “Celebrating two decades of women’s victory in agriculture, forestry and fisheries”.
The DAFF FEA programme was initiated in 1999 by the former Department of Agriculture under the name “Female Farmer of the Year Competition.” In 2010, the programme was renamed the DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards.
Total South Africa has been sponsoring the awards for 20 years. This year’s ceremony was also sponsored by Old Mutual, Distell, South African Breweries, Standard Bank and the Perishable Products Export Control Board, which is a public entity.
Corporate Affairs Manager at Total South Africa, Nne-Mpho Siaga, said the awards are an important stepping stone towards the elimination of skewed participation in agriculture.
“It also brings us closer to answering the need for sustainable business practices. At Total South Africa, every single initiative, every single show of support for women is an expression of our commitment to creating tomorrow’s legacy today.
“If we give them the right tools, our women have the potential to not only tackle the industry’s challenges but also those that we, as a nation, are currently facing,” Siaga said.
In her address, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza motivated the 50 nominees to “take these awards as encouragement to do even more”.
Winners in various categories:
Best Female Worker: Katrina Nxangani from the Free State;
Best Subsistence Producer: Tholakele Sibiya from KwaZulu-Natal;
Top Entrepreneur in Smallholder: Happiness Makgamatho form Limpopo;
Top Entrepreneur in Processing: Daphne Neethling from the Western Cape;
Top Entrepreneur in Commercial: Mmathoko Mabula from Limpopo and
Top Entrepreneur in Export Markets: Berene Damons from the Western Cape.
Marice Mercuur from the Western Cape received the Minister’s special award for young female entrepreneur. Matebogo Mouwane from Gauteng won the female entrepreneur with disability in the sector.
Mmathoko Mabula from Limpopo was named the overall winner based on the highest scoring points.