Women smallholder farmers in South Africa

National Women’s Month is drawing to a close, but the strides being made by female members of SaveAct groups are set to continue. These two short videos capture, in their own words, some of the impressive achievements of two enterprising smallholder women farmers who have used the opportunities presented through SaveAct programmes to improve their household finances and food security, as well as generate an income through a poultry-producing enterprise.
Ntombinkulu Mbele (54) (right) and Jabulisile Duma (29) are two vibrant women residing in Mahlushini, about 30 km from Underberg. They share a single household.
The women are members of four SaveAct savings and credit groups (SCGs) in total. They are also members of Sinethemba (“We Have Hope”), a SaveAct-supported broiler enterprise focus group (EFG) consisting of 13 members, all of whom are female.
The household currently runs a range of enterprises, the biggest of which is poultry (25 broilers, six layers and around 20 indigenous chickens), but includes the production of maize, vegetables, cattle and goats. All enterprises, apart from the broiler project, are run for household consumption and income smoothing, which allows the household to manage financial shocks and unexpected expenses.
The two women made use of the larger lump sums from their savings groups to invest in their enterprises, buying broilers and layers and acquiring second freezer which is used to store frozen chicken pieces for sale in the village. The birds are value-added in the sense that after they slaughtered, they are processed into pieces, packaged and sold with all by-products tucked into the bird. The house they use for rearing chickens is well ventilated and has dry dung flooring. The birds are sold to community members in the area.
In these two short videos, Mrs Mbele and Mrs Duma explain the ways in which SaveAct’s savings and credit groups as well as its enterprise development programme have changed their lives for the better.
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