In a dialogue to highlight the plight of female farmers in the sector, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says legislation will be looked into with the aim of making it more responsive in supporting women.
The webinar intended to provide insight into the challenges women faced in the sector, with Didiza confirming to over 200 participants that those coming into the agri-space needed assistance in an industry previously male-dominated.
“There will be land that will be released by the state which should make 50% of the beneficiaries women.”
She noted complaints related to access to land for leasing, including the acquisition of state-owned land but said this would be looked into with a remedy on a way forward to be issued.
Mimie Jacobs, a recipient of the Free State Female Farmer of the Year Award from the department of agriculture in 2016, highlighted some of the security challenges in the sector to Didiza and the panel.
There was violence in the sector, she said. Jacobs highlighted how three assailants barged into her homestead only to tie her up and threaten to rape her while raiding her home.
After the men raided her home, she freed herself and called for help from a neighbour.
Jacobs was stabbed with a sharp object above her eye and said the attack left a long term psychological impact.
She was later rushed to the nearest hospital and found that her skull was fractured in three places.
She remembers how the men were later arrested, and are now going to trial.
“Violence in the sector did not discriminate as it has manifested in the brutal experience of farmers.”
She highlighted there needed to be more collaboration between police and the sector. Security remains imperative in the sector, as farmers cannot do this alone.
She recommends that the working relationship be strengthened between police, government and the sector with storage facilities armed with updated CCTV cameras.
Nthabiseng Kgobokoe, a farmer in the agricultural sector, said economic emancipation was the most important.
She said there was a perception that farming was for those people who had failed, even though the sector ensured food security for people across the country.
“Young people are the best candidates to steer the country into a new normal.”