Tiger Brands Empowers Women through Dipuno Fund

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Tiger Brands embarked on a visit on August 2, 2022 to a farm harvest in Ventersdorp, North West. The visit was to celebrate the achievements of Mpumi Maesela and Lusanda Moletsane who are two of Tiger Brands’ successful woman Aggregators.

As we celebrate women’s month, it is with great pleasure to acknowledge that Tiger Brands is constantly working towards transforming South Africa through its Aggregator Programme and is always on the lookout to empower eligible black women farmers who have a passion for farming.

Tiger Brands is one of Africa’s leading food producers who recognised three years ago that small scale farmers are often challenged to compete on a commercial scale and thus opened its doors to Dipuno Enterprise and supplier Development Fund in 2019. The trust has pledge R100 million in investing towards black-owned and black woman-owned small enterprise and smallholder farmers by 2025.

“A few months back Tiger Brands celebrated its century. What we really celebrated was 100 years of Tiger Brands products, much loved by many South Africans and with no doubt, I’m sure that each one has one of these products in your pantry and cupboards” said Mary-Jane Morif, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability. These products that are loved by the country range from All Gold tomato sauce, ACE, Oros just to name a few. Tiger Brands has a healthy portfolio, which is owed to all the farmers that supply the company with raw produce turned into mouth-watering brands.

Mpumi Maesela is the Director of SE Holdings – she has played a leading role in supplying Tiger Brands with over 90% of its A-grade small white bean since 2020.

“We are very particular in the type of farmer we look for and we have high standards. We look for farmers with the heart, those that will go the extra mile to produce our A-grade standards. I told myself that our farmers are going to produce Woolworth’s standards for Spar”, said Mpumi while thanking her dynamite team, that has made SE Holdings the success that it is it today. Mpumi worries that only a few farms are owned by women, meaning women are at a disadvantage to compete commercially. In such instances, government stakeholders such as the North West PSSC will be approached in order to allow women farmers to be key players in the industry.

Lusanda Moletsane’s agri company, Khumo Ea Tsabo produces small white beans for Tiger Brands. In 2021, Moletsane’s two farming clusters In Nigel and Bronkenhorstspruit yielded around 500 tonnes of produce. Moletsane leans on her mentors for guidance believing there is always something new to learn and says her aim is to help ‘feed the nation’.

People of colour were previously deprived from being role players in the farming sector in South Africa, which is why they are experiencing challenges as the sector becomes friendly towards them. These challenges come in a form of lack of land, lack of funding and inadequate machinery. Black farmers find themselves having to lease property in order to achieve a successful outcome and leasing machinery from contractors that often service farmers that are willing to pay a high price.

Lerako Naphtaly a 41-year-old farmer with a strong agriculture background along with other farmers that were present at the farm visit took attendees on a tour to the fields to see the harvest. He explained the process of harvesting and all the preparations that take place before they start planting. It was educational especially for those that are not familiar with farming procedures.

Women have a difficult time because so often they are left to become single parents or breadwinners, with no sustainable income. They quickly find themselves surrounded by poverty. Dipuno Fund launched by Tiger Brands wants to curb poverty and understands that it is vital for women to be empowered.

By Sandra Lesenyeho