Women from across the Free State were awarded for their business efforts in the industries of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This took place at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s 2019 Provincial Female Entrepreneur Awards (FEA) as a part of its 20-year celebrations.
Out of the winners of the night women in agriculture took away a good portion of prizes. MEC William Bulwane congratulated women farmers, some of whom have graduated from backyard vegetable garden farmers to becoming major players in vegetable farming, processing and exportation.
He alluded that it is high time for government to open the agricultural sector to women and provide them with the necessary support so that in future they become successful and sustainable.
Overall winner was Mieta Mpholo, founder of Mmokeng wa Maqheku, a non-profit organisation in Sasolburg that empowers the elderly community members through gardening. Mmokeng wa Maqheku means gathering of the elderly in SeSotho and since it began in 2009 it has become a haven for abused and neglected senior citizens.
Mpholo explained that she intends to erect fencing around their building with the R250 000 cash prize from the awards. Seniors take part in gardening, crafts and various traditional games at Mmokeng wa Maqheku.
“We do not have a fence yet here, so that is what we will get. They will also be able to do a lot more outside because now, we can get more tables. We will also be getting a gardening shed,” she said. Awards were handed over by Premier Sisi Ntombela along with MEC Bulwane.