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Three Mpumalanga women were honoured at the weekend by the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs in Nelspruit for their roles in combating poverty and maximising food security.
MEC Dina Pule said the awards went beyond recognising women as the custodians of household food security, to their roles as key economic players and agents of growth in society.
"The awards are instruments through which women's contribution to the fight against poverty is being recognised and encouraged," said Pule.
"As a collective of men and women, we should ensure women benefit from government programmes such as Masibuyele Emasimini and the comprehensive agricultural support programme."
She said one of the challenges to be confronted was how to bring the rural poor, who suffer double prejudice, into the mainstream without alienating advantaged urban residents.
"Through these awards, our sisters must be heard and seen.
"This calls on women to strengthen sisterly bonds to bridge the artificial rural and urban divide," said Pule.
The recipients of the awards were:
l Hoffman Franklyn of eNkangala in the export markets category.
l Themba Nkuna of Ehlanzeni in national markets.
l Franklyn Aucna of Gert Sibande in informal markets.
The Suzukane Women's Project from the Gert Sibande municipality was awarded the household use prize.
Zintle Mnyandu took home the Young Aspiring Farmer of the Year award for her efforts.
The three top recipients each pocketed R50000 and a trophy.