Women and youth hold the key to poverty alleviation, job creation and advancing food security in South Africa’s rural areas. This is the belief of Kwanalu chief executive Sandy La Marque.
Yesterday, she announced the launch of two KwaZulu-Natal programmes set to benefit both women and youth in agriculture.
This will be presented in a virtual format, said La Marque. She was inspired by Kwanalu’s women in agriculture webinar held last year, as well as the WiRE rural entrepreneurship programme.
The agricultural organisation boss said Kwanalu would unite women and youth in the sector using digital platforms.
Women in rural economies
“Women farmers will be supported through a platform to provide … [them] … with knowledge, skills and tangible opportunities to support themselves and their communities, and to sustainably participate in the agricultural value chain.”
La Marque added, “The fundamentals of entrepreneurship will be embedded at ground level by bringing the right partners, collaborators and funders together.”
Female farmers are central to the survival of rural economies, believes La Marque.
“The voices of women and the youth are not heard clearly enough, and this platform will link rural women and youth to opportunities in agriculture that will disrupt and transform the sector.”
Sugar doyenne to lead programmes
Both programmes will be headed by for SA Canegrowers corporate executive Dr Kathy Hurly. Women and youth in agriculture as set to be connected with key role players in technology, insurance, extension and other services. Also, they will have access to training and education as well as new and potential markets.
Hurly said, “The tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic has projected digital tools into every home and workplace, with every sector rapidly transforming into the digital age. This provides agriculture with an excellent prospect to leverage the digital wave.”
“The women in agriculture webinar demonstrated the desire by rural women in agriculture to learn to be better business owners and successful entrepreneurs, and to successfully participate in the broader value chain.”