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Empowering rural women

PROMOTING entrepreneurship among rural women, Provincial Treasury, in partnership with the Pietermaritzburg Business Chamber (PCB), Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Msunduzi municipality last Friday opened a village market for 300 rural businesses at the Royal Showgrounds.

The market, co-ordinated by KwaZulu-Natal Financial Literacy (KZNFLA), has a spaza shop, 25 stalls selling fresh produce, handmade garments, craft and processed products. Prior to the market opening women exhibitors were given training on running businesses.

KZNFLA Trust chairperson Artwell Hlengwa said the exhibition, which will continue until 7 June, is aimed at reducing poverty by expanding social and economic opportunities for rural communities and empowering them to make informed financial decisions.

“Through this partnership we are touching the lives of our rural communities, as these women will share their knowledge and experience with their partners and families.

“In addition, they are also given a platform from which they can sell their produce,” he said. Vegetable farmers Hlaleleni Buthelezi­ and Nokukhanya Ntombela, who own Ixhiba Co-operative at Fundokuhle Secondary in Imbali, told Echo they appreciate the goverment’s initiative, as it gives them a platform to showcase their produce.

The co-op was founded in 2006 and produces tomatoes, spinach, chillies, beetroot, brinjil, green, red and yellow peppers, cucumber and lettuce.

Their current distribution areas include Mkondeni market, PCK Distributors and they also produce for the community.

Buthelezi said the co-op, with six members, was started seven years ago after realising that every living organism relies on agriculture.

“We all need the soil and we are heeding the government’s call of ‘one home and one garden’,” she said.

Buthelezi and Ntombela said while there are not enough job opportunities young people need to start such initiatives to survive.

Ntombela said: “Not everyone can be employed by the government and with agriculture one can never go wrong.

“It is good to be your own employer and we need young people who will carry on legacy, even when we die.”

Source: News24


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