Uhlaleleni Buthelezi of Ixeba corporative in Embali, uMgungundlovu District Municipality in Kwazulu-Natal, has been farming since 2005.
Their slogan is “with soil; we will build a healthy nation.”
The cooperative has created six (6) permanent jobs and sixty (60) indirect jobs within the area.
She told Mzansi Agri Talk that their biggest problem is lacking land because the one they are farming on now is too small and it also belongs to the school.
“If we can get a bigger land, we will be able to expand and hire more people and produce more products and this will mean more money for the business and growth.
“That we have aged is nothing, because what we could do is pass the skill to the young ones so they can continue with farming, she said.
Mama Buthelezi said that in 2017, their business lost their compliance status because the community started a dumping waste near their operations.
Mama Buthelezi is a living proof that women have always been the backbone of families from time immemorial.
Giving women more land will address poverty and food security challenges can also be minimised if not eradicated.
To this day, women remain the glue that holds together almost every family.
In the old days, women in rural areas were working the land while men were labouring in mines across the country.
So giving women such as Mama Buthelezi access to potentially-productive land is crucial to combating discrimination against women in agriculture.
It’s time for the government and the private sector to invest in women-owned cooperatives as part of rural development, poverty alleviation, and the creation of jobs in rural areas.
This will, in turn, reduce the high number of young people and women migrating to big cities in search of economic opportunities.
Part of the critical intervention should be in rural infrastructure development and tailor-made training programmes.
South Africa is among developing countries where participation of women in agriculture and access to land needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Mama Buthelezi is currently farming cabbage, tomatoes, pepper, and beetroot.
They do have the market but the problem is that they are price takers.