August is Women’s Month in South Africa. The Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza, marked the occasion by setting out some of the ways the government is encouraging the entry and advancement of women in agribusiness.
In addition to assistance in developing small-scale farmers, the government is also looking to involve more women in agro-processing and other agriculture-related businesses.
A pilot project involves 100 women who have already started agro-processing businesses, aiming to help these small-scale operators to become sustainable and grow. Once the pilot is complete, the intention is to roll out the programme at scale.
Other areas where the government sees opportunities for women are logistics – the packaging and transportation of goods from farm to market, locally, nationally and abroad – and infrastructure such as cold storage, pack houses and grain storage facilities.
The minister wants to see more women helping to strengthen food security in South Africa.
Image: Lizzie Makichini is the processing production manager at the Grain Field Chickens abattoir in Reitz. With about 600 people reporting to her, she is responsible for the functioning of a plant that processes 850 000 chickens a week.