Claudia scoops farming award

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Claudia Ngubane, 60, took 24 years to make her mark in the farming sector.

This week her years of toil paid off - she was crowned KwaZulu-Natal Female Farmer of the Year at a ceremony held in Umzinto.

Ngubane, of Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, said reaching the top in a male-domi- nated industry was difficult.

She joined the industry after her husband died in 1983 because she had to support her three children. She started her business by selling vegetables from her farm.

Ngubane later added poultry to her business because selling vegetables was not enough to support her family.

"When my husband died our first born was seven. It was hard, but I did not look back. I forgot about yesterday and started moving towards tomorrow."

Ngubane has now passed her skills on to her children who also help her on the farm.

In her spare time, Ngubane teaches women farming which she said was still perceived as a "white male sector".

She said it was important for women to roll up their sleeves and stop complaining when times are hard.

"Women were made to be leaders and we should maintain that," Ngubane said.

Premier Sbu Ndebele's wife, Zama, who was a guest speaker at the awards ceremony, said women can deal with poverty. Zama, herself, is a poultry and cattle farmer.

"Farming is not easy for women, but they must continue to strive for success in the field," said Zama.

She said women should not wait for opportunities to come to them, but they need to take charge and act fast to uplift others.

"When women achieve something the whole nation gets developed," she said.

Ngubane will represent KwaZulu-Natal in the female farmer of the year awards' national competition.

Other winners who will also represent the province are Maria Wale and the Sibonelo Farming Group.

They all received R50000 from the provincial department to grow their businesses.

For live video footage on this event log on to