Woman talks about her passion for agriculture

Porciah Mdlovhu was always fascinated by how food is made, today she is glad to be part of the process

MALALANE –  Mrs Porciah Mdlovhu (34), a farm manager in Malalane, has always been curious as to where food comes from. Growing up in an agricultural environment helped cultivate this curiosity.

It was not until high school at Suikerland that her curiosity was ignited and became a passion.

“We had a teacher, Mr Nkosi, I don’t know if he is still alive, who instilled the love of land and farming in us,” she explained.

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He taught applied agriculture and pupils were given their own plots and had to farm them. Seeing how food was created inspired Mdlovhu to make agriculture a career.

She was born in Thulamahashe in Bushbuckridge, but moved to Malalane with her mother, a nursing assistant, and father who worked for TSB.

Porchia Mdlovhu wants more women to get into agriculture

After matric she completed a diploma in plant production at the Lowveld College of Agriculture, now the University of Mpumalanga.

In her final year she returned to Malalane where she took up an internship, after which she was employed permanently.

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One who is not shy to know more, she had to put her educational ambitions temporarily on hold in 2012 to become a mother. She is a wife and a mother of two.

She returned to the university in 2013 to get her BTech diploma.

Mdhlovhu first worked as a section leader for three different farms in the area before becoming a farm manager on one of Malalane’s sugar-cane farms. “It is my life, I love it,” she said.

Mdhlovhu’s biggest challenge is the fact that she is a woman in a formally male-dominated industry.

“In the beginning I had a problem with older men who could not imagine such a young girl telling them what do,” said Mdhlovhu.

Many of them were set in the old ways of farming.

“But things have since changed. Now there is mutual respect between us, but you will still get one or two who do not take you seriously, but there is more of us now. Agriculture is feeding households. Why would you not want to farm? It is really not a man’s world, it is a career you need to love,” she concluded.

Bombi Mavundza

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