By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – Maluti-a-Phofung (MAP) women who are active in agriculture agree that the only way to overcome their challenges and access the market is by working together.
Maina Moloi from Qholaqhwe creche said there are a lot of challenges facing women in agriculture, but the key is to work together to access the market.
“The purpose of the women in agriculture dialogue held on 31 August, was to find ways in which different stakeholders can champion the issue of women’s economic empowerment and participation in this sector, to see how women can come together in agriculture to access the market. There are many possibilities to grow wealth in this sector, but one person cannot do it alone, we need to work together to overcome our challenges.”
“We face challenges when it comes to access to land, adequate water supply, the quality of our soil and how to deal with pests, that is why we have invited the stakeholders that we have here today,” Moloi said.
Mandla Mthembu from YIA said there are a lot of cooperatives and women in agriculture so when Maina Moloi approached him to organize this event he was more than willing to lend a helping hand.
“Women in agriculture are not exposed to some of the opportunities that are available in this sector, that is why I saw how important it was to be part of this event today.
“As Youth in Action, we have a partnership with Enactus – a global organisation that helps communities with some of their challenges – and they are working with us in agriculture in areas of skills development and training,” Mthembu said.
Enactus is a global organisation that works with students at universities to create entrepreneurial projects that aim to assist the community.
Its CEO Letitia de Wet had this to say: “I challenge the people gathered here today that we need to change that dialogue and ask our children what job they are going to create after studying instead of asking them what job they want to get. When I am in this area of Qwaqwa, I see a lot of opportunities and I think we can do more by working together.”
A University of the Free State (UFS) student Salima van Schalkwyk who is part of Enactus, said they are working with an agriculture cooperative called Botjha Botjabile in Monontsha where they are farming fly worms and using them as organic fertiliser and livestock feed.
“We realized that farmers don’t only face challenges of access to water or land but also have problem with accessing quality livestock feed and organic fertiliser. Through the harvesting and farming of these worms we have created an affordable livestock feed which is high in protein and is healthy for the animals as well as organic fertiliser that creates healthy soil that grows healthy crops,” van Schalkwyk said.
A representative from the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, the chief of staff from the district executive mayor’s office as well as Mofumahadi Mathokoana Mopeli from the Bakoena Royal household were present at this event.
In an interview with this publication Mopeli urged women to realize that land is life and that through agriculture they can contribute to the wellbeing of their families as well as the economy of Thabo Mofutsanyana district.