Sundays River Valley farm walks away with National Farming Award
Luthando Farm from Kirkwood, situated in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality, walked away with both the Export Markets category award and the Overall Prize at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ annual National Female Entrepreneur Awards, that were held at Mmabatho Conference Centre in Mafikeng, in the North West Province, on the 22nd of August 2014.
For both categories, the farm won R750 000.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, said he was excited by the feat the farm (representing the province) has achieved.
The MEC, who was overwhelmed and almost lifted to the stage by excited Eastern Cape farmers and officials, said the province had the potential of becoming “the basket of food” of the country.
He said his department was bound to do “everything in its power” to ensure women, who he thinks can “feed the nation”, are supported.
“Women are crucial in ensuring food security in the province and country. As a Department, we are actively supporting women's projects and programme,” said MEC Qoboshiyane.
“I’m very glad about the fact that Luthando has won this award. The farm will continue to do great things and excel in what they are doing."
“I also thank the Department of Rural Development of Agrarian Reform for the role it has played in supporting our endeavours,” said Nokwanele Mzamo, Assistant Farm Manager at Luthando Farm.
Mzamo, who could not attend the ceremony as she was attending a citrus conference held in Drakensberg, also said Luthando Farm has proved itself as a “thriving and prosperous” farm.
The farm exports various types of citrus fruit to Asian countries and the Department has supported it with a tractor, upgrading of irrigation system, boundary fencing, harvesting bins, chainsaws and aluminium ladders.
It is part of the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme, which ensures that previously disadvantaged communities access land.
MEC Qoboshiyane said that the Department was making progress in support of LRAD farms by “doing everything possible to help them to continue producing and become more profitable and sustainable.”
Luthando farm employs at least 21 permanent and 150 seasonal workers and has 49 shareholders.
“This project presents an outstanding opportunity to create a long term profitable and sustainable source of income,” said Mzamo.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, who received an award on behalf of Luthando Farm, said women were key leaders, adding that a family would not go hungry when women are around.
“Women are the backbone of every family. When you support women's initiatives, you are supporting the nation.”
Photo Caption: WINNERS… Ms Bongco, on behalf of overall winner Nokwanele Mzamo, and Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Honourable Mlibo Qoboshiyane, with a R500 000 cheque which Luthando Farm from Kirkwood won at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ annual National Female Entrepreneur Awards, that were held at Mmabatho Conference Centre in Mafikeng, in the North West Province, on the 22nd of August 2014.
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