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Inspirational Women in Business on Nation in Conversation

  • 17 May 2018
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  •  nation-in-conversation

The all-female panel anchored by Rozanne McKenzie included Jane McPherson who is the Manager of GrainSA’s farmer Development program; Preline Swart of Swart Boerdery and GrainSA; Marion Shikwinya – MD of Harvest Time Investments and Rita Andreas.

Shikwinya started the conversation by explaining that there is a dire need for women to be incorporated in leadership structures because not only do women make up over fifty percent of the country’s population, they are born nurturers and if we are to secure food security as a country, we need women - who are well versed in finding ways to ensure that their families eat. 

McPherson agreed with this sentiment and added that in her experience, when it comes to farming “the smaller the farm, the more women are involved. When the farmer gets bigger and the business grows, the women fade into the background and the men take over.” 

This is to showcase that women care more about the provision element of agriculture, not so much the business of it, which she says should not really be an issue because in South Africa women are blessed to know that they are not inferior to their male counterparts. 

Panel members were all in agreement that while women might be equal to men, they are different and solutions for them within the agricultural sector should be tailored specifically. 

What started out as a discussion about opening up the space for women in agriculture eventually escalated into a discussion about marginalised communities and how inclusivity in agriculture should cover everyone. McPherson appealed for support for small scale farmers, highlighting that we are a diverse country with diverse needs and all those needs should be met. 

“Farmers struggle to obtain finance for their farming needs because they don’t have title deeds, but that is not going to change soon. So instead of saying we cannot help them because they do not have title deeds, let us rather figure out how we can help them without title deeds. Both Swart and McPherson gave emotive closing statements about bringing passion, empathy and nurturing back into agriculture, much to the audience’s delight.
For the full episode please visit the Nation in Conversation website at to view the full broadcast schedule.

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