She worked as a labourer in the scotching sun in her brother’s farm for five years. Deep down in her heart, she knew that she will one day become her own boss. Twelve years later, the former general worker is a successful female farmer and owner of a 25 hectre farm who has won several awards in recognition of her hard work. This is an encouraging story of Takalani Rosina Nevhutalu (40) of Folovhodwe village, under Musina Municipality.
Nevhutalu, who farms at the nearby Tshikhudini village, recently scooped the Musina Municipality Top Female Award. She again proceeded to take the first position in the Vhembe District Female Farmer competition and also came second position in the Limpopo Province Female Farmer Awards.
She said hers is a true example that disadvantaged women can also stand up and contribute in the economic development of their communities. “I come from a very poor family background and I know what poverty is all about. It has always been my wish to change my situation instead of waiting for the government to spoon feed me. I started from humble beginnings with no financial start up but my hard work and zeal for success drove me to where I am today.” Added Nevhutalu who plants tomatoes, chickpeas, maize, watermelons, butternuts and okra.
Good news is that Nevhutalu’s farming project has created six permanent jobs for formally unemployed community members who are now able to feed their families. She added that she also employs up to 25 casual workers per year during harvest times. “My permanent workers are fully registered according to the laws of this country. This is to encourage them to work hard because they know that they are part of my big family. A happy worker produces good results and always contributes to the development of the initiative.”
Despite her success, Nevhutalu says there are also set backs that she faces on daily basis. “The electricity costs for pumping water from the nearby river are very high. Pests like tuta absoluta are very dangerous if not well treated. I spend a lot of money to make sure that these pests do not cause harm to my products. Besides that, my farm is adjacent to the mountain where baboons and monkey are in abundance. But all these challenges do not deter my determination because farming is in my blood.”
The top female farmer, who sells her products locally and also packages to Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg said she is working on the acquisition of a global certificate so that she can also send her products to the rest of the world. She also donates her products to local community members and crèches as a way of giving back to her own society.
And her message to the unemployed women out there is: “Wake up and create your own wealth. Don’t let poverty dictate your terms because you are the master of your own destiny.”