The future of farming is female. And no, we are not referring to the farmer’s wife. Great change is under way on South African farms, with many indicators suggesting that the number of female farmers are on the rise.
Leading farmers Alfreda Mars, Jacqueline Goliath and Preline Swart are set to participate in Food For Mzansi’s second Power Talk, this time around on women’s empowerment and gender equality in agriculture. Also participating is Amanda Gouws, a distinguished professor of political science and the SARChl Chair in Gender Politics, and Maritjie Cornelissen, Acting Deputy Director of Quality and Transformation Management at the Department of Agriculture for the Western Cape Government. Mars is the CEO of Middelpos Farm, Swart is the CEO of Swart Boerdery and Goliath is the owner of De Fynne Nursery.
Members of the public are invited to have their say at the free panel talk on Friday, 14 June 2019 at 18:30 at the Adam Small Theatre Complex in Stellenbosch. It will be led by Food For Mzansi Editor Dawn Noemdoe, and is hosted in partnership with the VKB Group, a leading agricultural company, and Stellenbosch University.
The all-female Food For Mzansi Power Talk panel will deliberate on the increasingly important role of women in agriculture to create social cohesion. The previous talk was recently held on the University of the Free State campus in Bloemfontein.
At the Bloemfontein discussion, Henk Harmse, the CEO of Harmse Boerdery in Bultfontein in the Free State, said, “Everyone in South Africa and across the globe face their own unique challenges every day. Whether it’s rising costs, challenges reaching markets, integration or conflict in the workplace or at home, being a single parent, trying to a good example or, even the saddest of all, hunger.”
Harmse said this in reference to the discussion theme of creating social cohesion through agriculture. “Regardless of the situation, we still have the responsibility to choose our own attitude. In one way or the other, we are all connected by agriculture. It lays the foundation for a better life and an end to hunger. Where is a better place to start for cohesion than agriculture?”
Mosele Lepheane, the CEO of Mos M Farm, says she walked away with the realisation that there are people that really want to come together to create change in the agricultural industry. “If we really come together as friends of agriculture, like we did at the Food For Mzansi Power Talk in Bloemfontein, we can truly make a difference that can positively impact the industry and our communities.”
According to Dr Frikkie Maré, Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State, the Power Talks are an ideal opportunity for the agricultural industry, academia and even students to share their thoughts. “During the session some tough questions were asked, and comments were made, but all were necessary to get to the truth of the matter from different perspectives.”