Exploring perceptions of female food entrepreneurs in a rural community in South Africa
Hobe, Hawa Bophelo
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The study investigated the perceptions of female food entrepreneurs on climate related opportunities and challenges in a rural community in South Africa. Female food entrepreneurs make important contributions to the economy of the country and yet today very little research interest is directed on understanding these important entrepreneurs particularly in a climate change affected rural settings. A qualitative study, utilising semi-structured interviews which were telephonically administered on eight participants residing in Ganyesa rural area in South Africa, was employed to help close the information gap. Participants were selected using non probability sampling methods: purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The study found that there are major climate-related challenges affecting rural women and households. Understanding and awareness of these climate-related challenges and how they affect livelihoods is high. However, very little understanding was exhibited that these challenges are also associated with opportunities although discussions revealed them. The food supply bottlenecks presented entrepreneurship opportunities in the transportation and retailing of food to deficit areas at the same time attracting awareness campaigns on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. These food supply problems exert cost pressures and food security threats which curtail the survival and thriving of the female food entrepreneurs’ businesses. It is recommended that enterprise development institutions providing entrepreneurship development training and support be more visible and accessible to these female food entrepreneurs in rural areas.