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									Female Farmer of the Year Awards Limpopo Province
Delivered by Hon Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
Ms Lulu Xingwana                              11 August     2006

Programme Director
Hon MEC for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Dikeledi Magadzi
Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Tozi Gwanya
Regional Land Claims Comissioner, Mashile Mokono
General Manager for Land & Agrarian Reform, Ms Jane Thupana
Members of Parliament here present
Executive Mayor
Traditional Leaders
All Farmers and members of Organised Agriculture (NAFU, AgriSA,
Best Female Farmers for today and many other female farmers
who are not here.
Members of the Media, who have been very kind to spend the
whole day with us today
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Wathinta bafazi…… Wathinti mbokodo!!!
Wathinti mbokodo…..Wathinta bafazi!!


Today we are here to celebrate the resounding success of women
in agriculture in this province. I am particularly impressed by the
mix of women, who participated in this competition,
    from small producers who are producing poultry, vegetables
      and other livelihood crops,
    to those producing for the local market,
    to those who sell their produce as far as Johannesburg, such
      as horticulture and livestock products,
    as well as those who produce for exports.
This means that the Female Farmer of the Year project recognises
that women are involved at all levels of agriculture, regardless of
status, geographic location, social or economic status. It
recognises that every woman works very hard every day, to put
food on the table. Some Districts are better endowed with natural
resources than others. Vembe and Mopani Municipalities are

blessed with water and rich tropical soils whilst other Municipalities
are not.
Some of us are victims of the apartheid spatial planning, where
the historically disadvantaged people find themselves in congested
areas where there is pressure on natural resources.

This democratic government, led by the African National Congress,
has prioritised development in these depressed areas, hence the
presidential Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme
(ISRDP). This may mean that those of you who are small
producers from the depressed areas must begin to think big. You
must begin to dream dreams. Identify an opportunity from every
problem you encounter. Begin to “massify” production like the
people of OR Tambo municipality did when their storage facilities
were overflowing with maize. You must begin to “massify” poultry
production, vegetable production, tomato production. Begin to
think about graduating from the small producer to the exporter. If
you are already an exporter, think about increasing volumes and
thus increase your returns. This attitude will enable us to achieve
the noble goal of economic growth, it will help us to create jobs,
and it will take us to a world where poverty is a thing of the past.

African agriculture survives or grows because of women. If you
look at who are working on farms, whether commercial or
communal you will soon realise that it is women. We are the ones
who make agriculture work. It is very sad that the male dominated
agricultural business has not rewarded nor recognised the role of
women in agriculture. Today we are here to say:

“Stand up woman and take your rightful position in agriculture”
“Stand up and do what you are best at, to produce and prepare
that food for your children”
“Stand up and let your efforts be rewarded in the business of
“Stand up and be counted among the best leaders in this sector,
both here at home and beyond our borders”

One of the most important things in my priority list in this
Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs is the establishment of
the Women’s Agriculture and Rural Development Association

(WARDA). The idea is that WARDa must have Provincial Chapters
in the various districts and local municipalities.

The aims of WARDa shall include the following:
 that Women must participate actively in agricultural production,
  value adding processing, marketing and business development.
 Youth and people with disability are enabled to participate in
  local economic development. This involves providing facilities
  and funding for their projects and programmes.
 Rural communities are organised to work in groups or co-
  operatives so that they can enjoy associated benefits such as
  bulk buying discounts, co-ordinated marketing etc.
 Practical focused sustainable projects and programmes that
  improve the quality of life of our rural communities. This must
  lead to job creation and poverty alleviation. We must stop the
  wholesale urban migration because there are no jobs in the
  urban centres. Evidence of this is the growing squatters in our
  towns, where our people remain unemployed and very poor. In
  Pretoria and Johannesburg, we have seen a growing number of
  people who are sleeping in the streets, because they cant
  afford rent, even in the shanty towns. Such people must come
  back to the rural areas.
 WARDa must be a mass movement that galvanises our rural
  people for socio-economic freedom. We have earned our
  political freedom but we must still work even harder to get the
  economic freedom for all of our people. This week we are
  celebrating 50 years of the women’s struggle against
  oppression. Women are able to organise, mobilise, lobby,
  advocate and get the desired results, just in time.
 WARDa must be a vehicle for socio-economic empowerment,
  capacity building, training and equipping of our people.

We have a number of women initiatives in other sectors, but you
will agree with me that, if we want to see success in agriculture
and rural development we must have strong women’s groups.

We are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before
us, such as Lillian Ngoyi, Ellen Khuzwayo, Helen Joseph and many
others. They fought for our freedom and we must defend the
legacy that they stood for. They condemned the eviction of
women on farms, which always happens in winter, when it is very

cold. They condemned child labour and all forms of rape. They
condemned violence against women and children. They embraced
gender equity at all levels of our society.
We must take over from where they left and strive for economic
freedom, for participation of women in the mainstream of our
economy. We must support one another so that we can all grow.
Let us adopt the saying “Lift -as -you -Rise”. Those who are in
business must show others how to get in, those who have grown
must show others how to grow, in this way we shall grow and
remain stronger everyday.

I am aware that most of our women have challenges such as
funding, technical expertise, appropriate equipment, farming
systems, marketing and financial management. These problems
are not new and they are not insurmountable. They say “where
there is a will, there is a way”. We must always see a stepping
stone in every stumbling block that comes our way. We have
programmes like CASP, which are intended to help you address
these challenges. Honourable MEC, we must use the 50 : 50
principle to assess the extent to which our programmes, such as
CASP, are able to assist women. We must always access to what
extent do our land reform programmes enable our women to own
land. The Land Claims Commission has told me that about 25% of
the restitution beneficiaries are women headed households. We
can do better than that if our land redistribution programme
targets women.

We have the necessary political will, an enabling policy
environment that promotes gender equity. We must take
advantage of that. We must claim our rightful place in our society
and in the global economy. Recently we have signed a trade
agreement with the Chinese, which has created economic
opportunities for our people. We can now sell our produce to the
one point three billion people of China. This is why I stressed the
importance of thinking big and dreaming dreams. We must soon
see our selves as very important global players in the world
economy. Instead of complaining about foreigners taking our jobs
we must go out aggressively and take our place in the world
economy. This demands that we must work much harder and
smarter than we have been doing before.

I have been encouraged in the Eastern Cape when I saw
uMaDlamini owning many sheep, when I saw women actively
involved in goat-farming, when I saw female farmers involved in a
dairy that is farming with no less than 50 milking cows.

All of these are saying to us: “Women are ready to take over agri-
business; they are ready to provide leadership for the desired

The Female Farmer of the Year Awards could not have come at an
opportune time than when we have the international enabling
environment as we have seen the launch of the women’s
movement in Bloemfontein last weekend.

Let me convey our appreciation to the sponsors of this event,
including ABSA, Total SA, Land Bank and OBP. Their support
demonstrates that food security is not the responsibility of
government alone.

Congratulations to all women who have been nominated to
participate in these awards this year. You are our valued farmers.
Your valuable success has made us proud. Best wishes in all of
your efforts.

Phambili ngomsebenzi woMama Phambili !!
Phambili ngemibutho yoMama Phambili !!

Malibongwe !!

Igama Lamakhosikazi!!




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