A 42-year-old Mopani woman in Limpopo has been voted overall winner in the Mopani District Female Farmer of the Year competition held in NkowanNkowa outside Tzaneen at the weekend.
The woman, Selaelo Elisabeth Rakgakola, who founded the Tiang Maatla (be strong) Vegetable Project, beat several other top female farmers in the household category for the national market.
She, walked away with a R5000 cash prize, two certificates and expensive gifts.
Rakgakola started the project after realising that many people in her village lived in dire poverty.
She sold the vegetables from her project to local households cheaply.
"I approached a local chief and acquired a small piece of land to pursue my goal of providing my children and local people with vegetables," she says..
Her farm is at Lemondokop village in Sekgosese, near Morebeng, formerly Soekmekaar, where she produces tomatoes, cabbage, mustard, green peppers and sweet potatoes.
Eleven local people, including eight women, a man and two casuals, are employed in the project.
She says she sells her products at the Johannesburg and Pretoria national fresh produce markets.
"I sell some of the products to local people and I'm at present having discussions with major chain supermarkets to get my products there," Rakgakola says
Rakgakola says she wants to work hard and ensure that some of her products are exported to other countries. In fact, if possible, she wants to become a major exporter.