Mampe Filipina Mmeregi
Mampe Filipina Mmeregi is the Director of Temaretha Piggery Projects on the Langzeekoegat Farm in Nigel, South Africa. The farm has both plant and animal production services growing maize, soya, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, green and red chillies, as well as making bales from grass, and housing 250 sows, 50 sheep, 56 goats and 8 cows.
Why do you love your job?
Agriculture is my passion and I am passionate about what I do.
I love my job because it revolves around taking care of people’s lives by providing food security to the community and country at large. It is a business that requires me to be on my feet every day and it provides me with knowledge that I can pass on to others, teaching them how to care for themselves by understanding agriculture. My position in this industry also allows me to give and create new jobs for people.
How did you get here?
We started with opening a co-op. We were a team of five women, and we leased a commonage farm from Lesedi Municipality in Heidelberg. We started with a production of 50 sows, and that’s when I started learning about piggery. After five years the members of our co-op split and I ventured into the business alone with assistance from Land Reform in Pretoria, who helped me acquire this farm. We later had an agreement with the government who leased the land for me for 30 years. I continued with piggery production as the core of my business and also included crop production and other animals to have a mixed farming business.
In 2017 we decided to open a school to educate other farmers and students about agriculture. This was met with high praise from the community, and the response has been positive ever since. The learning institution bridges the gap between farming and students who want to enter the agricultural environment. Temaretha Agriculture Training was accredited by Agriseta and since then we have been providing:
- In-service training for university students (one year or more)
- Experiential training
- 2-week course for piggery production
- Plant production
- Animal production
- Outreach programs
All in all we have taught 150 Learners, 30 of whom have graduated from university.
What is your advice for young women wanting to contribute to sustainable food and farming?
My advice would be for them to educate themselves in the animal and plant production spaces so that they can see where the demand is for the supply chain. And also, not to be intimidated by today’s agricultural environment which is mostly filled by men. Women too can add value to the agricultural landscape.
What’s one challenge you face as a woman in agriculture and what do you think needs to be done to overcome this?
One of the major challenges I face is to manage and oversee my arable land. Theft is a major problem and I cannot physically fight thieves.
Mampe is just one of many inspirational women working in agriculture. Visit our Female #FoodHeroes page to hear from other women working to improve plant science and nutrition.