Pig farmer smiles all the way to the bank

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

THE FE­MALE FARMER of the year is play­ing her part in job cre­ation and food se­cu­rity.

Tho­bile Mpontshane has been crowned KwaZulu-Natal’s top fe­male farmer of the year.

The Fe­male Farmer En­tre­pre­neur Awards are hosted by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, which recog­nises the con­tri­bu­tion that women can make in in­creas­ing food pro­duc­tion, re­duc­ing hunger and mal­nu­tri­tion and im­prov­ing ru­ral liveli­hoods.

Awards are pre­sented in sev­eral cat­e­gories, with pro­vin­cial win­ners com­pet­ing in the na­tional fi­nals where an over­all na­tional win­ner is an­nounced.

In the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the com­pe­ti­tion, Mpontshane (30), a pig farmer from Vry­heid, walked away with R250 000 for be­ing the over­all win­ner, R125 000 for be­ing the best com­mer­cial farmer and R50 000 for the MEC’s spe­cial award.

She started her pig­gery in 2014 with two sows and to­day this num­ber has swelled to 220, with about 80 pigs be­ing sold to lo­cal abat­toirs each month and the farm em­ploy­ing 12 work­ers.

"From child­hood l had dreamed of own­ing a farm but l didn’t know it would be a pig farm. When l started out, I didn't know any­thing about pigs but I em­ployed man­agers from Den­mark who had vast knowl­edge of pig farm­ing.”

Pro­grammes like the Fe­male En­tre­pre­neur Awards help the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment to re­ward the con­tri­bu­tion of women in cre­at­ing and sus­tain­ing food se­cu­rity, job cre­ation, eco­nomic growth and poverty al­le­vi­a­tion in the sec­tor.

"Through pro­grammes like these awards we as the depart­ment hope to up­scale women en­trepreneurs from be­ing sub­sis­tence and small­holder pro­duc­ers to com­mer­cial en­trepreneurs,” said KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Themba Mthembu. Mthembu said women com­prise the largest per­cent­age of the work­force in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, but do not have ac­cess to or con­trol over suf­fi­cient land and other re­sources.

Tho­bile Mpontshane who was the over­all win­ner at this year’s Fe­male Farmer En­tre­pre­neur Awards in KwaZulu-Natal.

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