Determined famer Takalani Rosina Nevhutalu works on okra on her farm.
She worked as a labourer in the scorching sun on her brother’s farm for five years. Deep down in her heart, she knew that she would one day become her own boss.
Twelve years later, the former general worker is a successful female farmer and the owner of a 25-hectare farm, who has won several awards in recognition of her hard work.
This is the encouraging story of Takalani Rosina Nevhutalu (40) of Folovhodwe village, in the Musina municipal area.
Nevhutalu, who farms at the nearby Tshikhudini village, recently won the Musina Municipality’s Top Female Farmer Award and then proceeded to take the first position in the Vhembe District Female Farmer competition. She also came second at the Limpopo Province Female Farmer Awards.
She said hers was a true example that disadvantaged women could also stand up and contribute to the economic development of their communities. “I come from a very poor family background, and I know what poverty all is about. It has always been my wish to change my situation instead of waiting for the government to spoon feed me. I came from humble beginnings with no financial start-up, but my hard work and zeal for success drove me to where I am today.”
Nevhutalu plants tomatoes, chickpeas, maize, watermelons, butternuts and okra.
Nevhutalu’s farming project has created six permanent jobs for formerly unemployed community members. She added that she also employed 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 said she also faced setbacks daily. “The electricity costs for pumping water from the nearby river are very high. Pests like tuta absoluta (the tomato leaf miner) 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 monkeys are in abundance. All these challenges do not deter my determination, because farming is in my blood.”
She sells her products locally and packages to Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg. She said that she was working on the acquisition of a global certificate, so that she could 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 community.