Farmer Thato Moagi aims to open up agriculture sector for women

Thato Moagi currently owns the 50-hectare LeGae La Banareng farm in Modimolle, Limpopo and she said said getting there did not come without challenges.

Thato Moagi-Mugonda/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG – With the agricultural sector still male-dominated, a 27-year-old woman from Limpopo is on a mission to make space for women and change the narrative.

Thato Moagi currently owns the 50-hectare LeGae La Banareng farm in Modimolle, Limpopo and she said said getting there did not come without challenges.

“It’s not easy being a young woman in an industry that is dominated by men. I face many barriers like ageism, sexism and the like. But when you overcome some of those barriers you can prove that this space is enough for everyone, no matter what they look like.”

She credits getting over these barriers to her partnership with her father.

But her main aim is to see more women taking up space farming, something that also comes with its own challenges.

“We still need to open these spaces to women and provide access to land, to mechanisation, and infrastructure. We don't realise it but even physically, machinery is designed for men so that needs to change too. We also need commercial access so that young women can invest in their businesses, families, and futures.”

One of the biggest challenges facing women in this industry is not owning land. Much of the land that women work on is rented or land for subsistence farming that directly services the community, not on an industrial scale.

This, she said, could be overcome by proper networking: “We need to work with, instead of against, people. Work with experts, the people who came before who know what they are doing, and use those networks to elevate your voice, knowing that you have that backing.”

As part of the #SheOwnsHerSuccess campaign, Moagi said that it was important to draw strength and inspiration from other women.

She said that she drew that inspiration from her grandmother, who was a domestic worker and her mother, who owned a hair salon.

“There are no small jobs for women – these women showed me the meaning of being independent, earning your own salary, and providing for the next generation. They showed me the need to be financially independent.”

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