Giovanna Webb, a Northern Territory crocodile farmer with a vision to build the skills, knowledge and work experience of indigenous women has been announced the national winner of the 2013 Rural Women’s Award.
This is the first time since the Award’s inception in 2000 that a Northern Territory woman has won the national title. Giovanna was announced as the 2013 Award winner by the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce in front of more than 250 industry leaders, politicians and past winners at a gala dinner at Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday evening.
Isobel Knight, a succession planning consultant from NSW was announced the Award’s runner-up for her work in the community and for her commitment to providing tools and resources to encourage farming families to better plan for the future.
Giovanna migrated to Australia from Colombia in 1997 and after graduating from university in 1992 she became involved in the technical side of commercial reptile farming. It was through crocodilian farming that she met her husband, moved to Darwin and became actively involved in the family business in Australia.
Giovanna received a $10,000 bursary as part of the Northern Territory state Award earlier this year which allowed her to implement her plan to empower indigenous women to develop their skills and knowledge in the crocodile industry.
“I firmly believe that unconventional areas of primary production, like crocodile farming, hold enormous potential for the diversification of primary production in rural Australia; more so in remote areas where the distance from markets is greatest,” said Giovanna.
“Winning the Territory Award earlier in the year allowed me to develop and implement a program which will train indigenous women in the crocodile industry to become successful in the marketplace. Not only will this training see indigenous women better equipped to source work within the industry, but I hope that it will also give them the necessary skills and confidence to set up their own small businesses based on the use of crocodile farming by-products.”
As the national winner, Giovanna will receive an additional $10,000 bursary to enable her to develop her leadership skills and participate in speaking engagements where she can share her passion for growing new rural industries.
RIRDC Managing Director, Craig Burns congratulated Giovanna on winning the Award and said she is a great role model for rural women.
“From a field of seven very strong state winners, Giovanna’s commitment to her local community, her leadership capability and her enthusiasm for her industry stood out to the judging panel,” Mr Burns said.
“Giovanna’s work in actively engaging, mentoring and training indigenous women to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence within and beyond the crocodile industry is remarkable and I am sure this Award will assist her to develop this program further.
“All the state winners this year are of the highest calibre and I am confident we will see all of them further develop their leadership potential and continue to inspire and drive change in their communities and industries.”
As the pre-eminent award for rural women in Australia, the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award identifies and supports emerging leaders who have the capability and resources to drive innovation, productivity and sustainability within primary industries and rural communities.
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