While the SA economy faces a huge downturn following minister Gordhan’s political challenges, two women farmers from Eastern Cape have emerged victorious at the Female Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Limpopo.
Philiswa Fadana of Woodbury, located between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, won the minister’s special award as the best performing female farmer living with disabilities. Jenecia Janse of Oudrift in the Cacadu District, however, walked away with the award for the top producer in the export category and overall winner.
The two EC women were handsomely rewarded for the roles they played in the SA agricultural sector – Janse pocketed R250000 plus a tablet for her category win and R500000 as the overall winner while Fadana walked away with R100000 plus a computer tablet for her win.
The Eastern Cape rural development and agrarian reform MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, who was present at the award ceremony, congratulated both women for their respective awards and said their achievements showed women’s abilities and capabilities were not limited.
“The success of both Philiswa Fadana and Jenecia Janse is a solid testament of the positive results of the ANC’s land reform policy that affirms women as competent farmers alongside their male counterparts.
“Our agriculture economic transformation strategy is anchored on advancing working agriculture businesses, like the ones owned by Fadana and Janse, through partnerships and hands-on support resulting into off-take agreements for producers to grow their businesses.”
Fadana, who cannot speak clearly as a result of a car accident in 2009, appeared to be highly excited by the handsome reward. She acquired her farm in 2011 but her disability did not stop her from starting a red meat abattoir and now she gains award for her hard works.
Her daughter, Qhawekazi, said she was proud of her mother and what she had accomplished.
“I think it’s difficult when you are disabled and you are doing incredibly labour-intensive work. Even for me as her child the hard work she puts in on the farm, is encouraging,” Qhawekazi said. “I know that she wants to inspire people to know that they are able to do anything they put their mind to.”
On the other hand, Jenecia Janse – who walked away with the award for the top producer in the export category and overall winner – said she will further put effort to educate women farmers and use her prize winning money to buy implements such as tractors, sprayers and seedlings. She said:
“In the future I will do my best to develop young women to be farmers, motivate them because it is best that we develop them now so that when we go, there are young people to continue with this work.”
Janse produces fruit for domestic and international markets on her farm. Her 304ha produces 434 tons of top red apples, 521 tons of Granny Smith apples, 57 tons of forelle pears. 60% of her products are exported to countries round the world while the rest are sold to the local market.