by ANNA NTABANE
MBOMBELA, (Mpumalanga Guardian) – KHULILE Mahlalela (31), a pig rearer, has been adjudged the best female farmer in the province.
Mahlalela, who runs Legend Piggery in the Middleburg area, has been honoured at an event the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) held in Mbombela in line with Women’s Month.
She was the overall winner, pocketing R490 000 in prize money and qualifies for the national finals set for later this month.
Mahlalela disclosed plans to expand her project.
“My future plans include building a meat processing plant for Mpumalanga,” she said.
“I need to create jobs for youth and invest in my business with this prize I have won” the young farmer concluded.
The ambitious Mahlalela established Legend Piggery in 2015.
She holds a National Diploma in Animal Production and is studying towards a Bachelor of Technology in Animal Science.
Last year’s winner, Esther Mhlongo, praised women involved in farming.
“The magic of a woman is in her heart, not a beauty, just like the magic of a farmer is in her hand,” Mhlongo said.
She encouraged women to be resilient.
“As a farmer, you have to be focused. When the troubles are bigger, you have to be courageous,” Mhlongo added.
Vusumuzi Shongwe, Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Agriculture, encouraged women to pursue careers in the sector.
He pledged government’s commitment to create a conducive environment for farmers to thrive.
“It is only through excellence in agriculture that we can improve lives of people. It is only through excellence in agriculture that we can succeed to alleviate poverty,” Shongwe said.