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Shiselweni scoops Woman Farmer of Year again

Business Section

By Teetee Zwane -- SWAZI OBSERVER-18-Sep-2009

THE Shiselweni region yet again shone at the Woman Farmer of the Year competition, as Winile Buhle Zulu of Mhlosheni emerged the overall winner.

This was during a prize presentation ceremony held at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre yesterday. Last year’s winner, Thabile Dlamini-Gooday also hails from the Shiselweni region.

Zulu, vegetable farmer, walked away with prizes worth E55 000, these including a cash prize of E10 000 courtesy of Farm Chemicals, a year’s free insurance package worth E1 000 courtesy of the Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation (SRIC), a E7 000, 1 000-litre water tank from Carson Wheels and E2 500 Sthil mist blower sponsored by Oasis.

“I am speechless and grateful to all those who made this possible for me. If you’re happy about what you do and do it with passion and commitment, then you will succeed,” said the elated farmer.

engage

Zulu defied all odds to engage in diversified agriculture production which includes vegetable farming, piggery, poultry as well as bee farming. Situated at one of the rural areas of Shiselweni region at Mabhudleni area (near Mhlosheni) where water is a problem, she used the scarce source of water for irrigation.

She has secured a market at neighbouring Nhlangano as well as individual hawkers but states that she still cannot satisfy her market. Zulu employs three permanent and 10 casual people. Second prize went to Patricia Dlamini, a piggery farmer of KaBhudla in the Manzini region. She took home prizes to the value of E47 202, which include a E13 000 cold room (compressor) sponsored by SwaziBank, E7 500 cash prize from the FSE&CC and a E4 500 water pump sponsored by Carson Wheels. “I thank God for guiding me through difficult times and giving me the strength not to give up,” she said.

However, Dlamini who also has an orchard with litchis, oranges, mangoes, paw paws and bananas said she still had challenges in her enterprise because of lack of transport for her produce. “Even though I produce a lot, I find it difficult to transport my goods to the market and sometimes see my profits dwindling because of transport hire costs.”

Josephine Simelane, a sweet potatoe farmer from Dumako in the Shiselweni region, took the third prize, with items to the value of E27 560. She won a cash prize of E5 000 from the National Maize Corporation (NMC), a E4 500 water pump courtesy of Carson Wheels as well as suction piping and delivery piping worth E1 060 and E2 800, respectively from SwaziBank.

“I thank God for this wonderful opportunity as this is the third year I’m entering this competition and did not think I would eventually win. I started farming in 1969 and since then I have come very far,” she said. The other finalists, Lindiwe Matse of KaLonhlupheko and Precious Dlamini of Ngobolweni took home prizes to the value E19 240 and E17 052, respectively.


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