mother of the harvest
Perseverance has proven to be the mother of success after Pebetsi Monica Ledwaba, a single mother from the Capricorn district, won the provincial Limpopo Female Farmer of the Year Award.
Ledwaba scooped the prestigious yearly accolade at the Meropa Entertainment World and Casino, outside Polokwane, on Friday night.
Ledwaba stand a chance of repeating her feat when the National Female Farmer of the Year award is announced in Cape Town tomorrow.
She has a good track record in farming to do it.
Ledwaba, 52, grows peaches, cabbage and garlic on a 4 hectare piece of land on her plot in Roode- poort, outside Polokwane.
She started farming in 2002 with a variety of peach trees, including Transvalia, nectarines, houtveld and Oom Sarel.
The mother of three daughters is now the proud owner of 750 peach trees on her small farm.
She went home on Friday with an honorary certificate for Overall Winner, a tractor from TAFE Limpopo, floating trophy and R50000 from the provincial department of agriculture.
The competition was divided into four categories: Top producer for the National Market, Top Producer for Informal Market, Top Producer for the Household Market and Top Producer for the Export market.
Runner-ups in the four cate- gories include Selolo Elizabeth Rakgoale and Freddy's Mineral Community Upliftment of Mopani, and Gorgeous Goose and Dineo Mpahlele of Capricorn.
The first runners-up received a certificate and R25000 in prize money each.
In her acceptance speech Ledwaba, who is a retired nurse, said: "Good things come to those who wait. When I started my farm in 2002 my aim was to fight poverty among women in my community and in the province.
"I only learnt last year that those who work hard in farming are awarded."
Ledwaba said she will use her prize money to expand her farm and create more jobs for women in her community.
In her congratulatory statement MEC for agriculture Dikeledi Magadzi said for many years women in South Africa fought hunger through agriculture when their husbands were working in the cities.
She said through farming women were able to provide a meal for their children every day. She said agriculture, with mining and tourism, were the three pillars of the South African economy.
The competition has since its inception in 1998 set a good track record in showcasing the work done by women in agriculture.
Previous winners are Sophy Mathebula of Mopani (1998), Fhatuwani Ramapulana of Vhembe (1999), Cecelia Mama- bolo of Capricorn (2001), Tendani Senomadi of Vhembe (2003), Magreth Thilande of Vhembe (2004), Betty Matlou of Mopani (2005), Luvuwani Mulaudzi of Vhembe (2006) and Makgoro Mannya of Mopani (2007).
Mannya also went on to win the National Female Farmer of the Year.