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Ivor Price | 19 September 2023

Momentum Metropolitan and Agri Enterprises are sowing the seeds of women’s empowerment in through the Women in Farming programme. Bridging gender gaps and nurturing economic growth, they’re driving positive change for a more inclusive farming landscape

In a powerful stride towards economic inclusivity, Momentum Metropolitan is taking the reins in the agricultural sector through its Women in Farming programme. Now in its second year, the collaboration with Agri Enterprises solidifies its commitment to fostering gender equality and economic growth in farming.

This is the view of Nkosinathi Mahlangu, portfolio head of youth employment at Momentum Metropolitan.

Speaking to Food For Mzansi, Mahlangu’s excitement is palpable as he explains, “Our objective is to stimulate and encourage emerging female entrepreneurs by establishing knowledge-based economies in rural areas. We’re currently focusing on KwaZulu-Natal, aiming to tackle socio-economic challenges faced by women in agriculture, particularly improving market access for female-owned enterprises.”

Community upliftment at the forefront

Momentum Metropolitan’s involvement in the agricultural sector is a testament to its commitment to uplifting the community. “The journey began in 2018, with the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation exclusively focusing on youth employment and empowerment,” Mahlangu reveals.

“Our vision was twofold: to upskill young people for employment and to support young entrepreneurs. Women in Farming was our inaugural entrepreneurial programme, addressing both gender disparity and economic opportunity.”

The significance of the initiative lies in its response to a deeply rooted issue. “Black women, especially, face vulnerability in unemployment,” Mahlangu states.

“Our programme tackles the challenges women encounter in agriculture. In South Africa, female-headed households often rely on women to provide for their families. While women play a critical role behind the scenes, Women in Farming puts them in the driver’s seat, fostering a new generation of female farmers.”

Success stories worth celebrating

Mahlangu’s voice lights up as he shares success stories. “Our first year exceeded expectations. We built confidence and equipped these young women with the skills to run their businesses effectively. Beyond upskilling and capacity building, we facilitated access to land and markets. Female participants gained support from local authorities, fostering mentorship and sustainable growth within their communities.”

The journey wasn’t without its challenges. “During the initial in-class training, businesses suffered from the absence of their owners, leading to unexpected setbacks like floods,” Mahlangu explains. “We learned from these experiences, providing support to help these entrepreneurs bounce back, with a focus on preventing future setbacks.”

Women and youth unemployment

Empowering women and disadvantaged South Africans aligns with Momentum Metropolitan’s core mission.

“We believe in collaboration to achieve success,” Mahlangu asserts. “Empowering women and addressing youth unemployment are intertwined. The Women in Farming programme positions us to be a catalyst in socio-economic development. By creating platforms for potential job creators, we’re amplifying women’s voices and contributions to food security.”

Explaining Momentum Metropolitan’s partnership with Agri Enterprises, a subsidiary of Agri SA, Mahlangu stated, “We saw an opportunity to play a role in bridging the gender gap, while also ensuring that economic activity flourishes.”

Seeds of progress sown

Operating as the commercial arm of Agri SA, Agri Enterprises occupies a central role in charting the course for the future of the country’s agricultural sector. Year after year, this forward-thinking entity extends its reach to encompass thousands of new-era farmers from across the nation, presenting pioneering solutions that propel the industry towards progress.

Together, the partners continue to champion women’s empowerment in agriculture, and the landscape of opportunities and equality in South Africa’s rural regions is shifting for the better. Through their Women in Farming programme, the seeds of progress are sown, promising a bountiful harvest of economic empowerment and sustainable change.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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