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Who`s Who In Agri Africa
Saturday, 12 November 2016 10:28

John Griffiths

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John Griffiths This year’s North West Young Farmer of the Year, is an irrigation farmer based just outside Brits. He has been farming for 14 years, having left school after Standard Eight. 

Griffiths has been farming his whole life and actually purchased his first tractor in primary school, with money he’d earned farming a plot of land his father allowed him to use. - See more at:
Griffiths has been farming his whole life and actually purchased his first tractor in primary school, with money he’d earned farming a plot of land his father allowed him to use.

Griffiths farms mostly with crops under irrigation, as well as a small component of exotic wildlife. He owns the farm Volspoed in Slachtkraal near the Koedoeskop area.

John produces a variety of crops, including maize, cabbage and spinach, on 400ha. His land extends over several smaller farms, with 20km separating the furthest properties. This means that he plants under a variety of conditions and in several different soil types – sandy, clay and loamy.

He plants about 200ha seed maize, 50ha maize, 50ha popcorn maize and 100ha vegetables. This includes about 400 000 spinach plants per hectare, yielding 10 000 bunches per hectare.

John recently expanded his operation to include wildlife such as black impalas and golden wildebeest. He keeps 20 golden wildebeest cows and one bull alongside 30 impala ewes and one black impala ram that run in a 60ha enclosure.

Saturday, 29 October 2016 13:54

Eric Ntlaba

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Eric Ntlaba Agricultural Writers SA Central Region New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture 2016

Perseverance, determination and hard work are three concepts Eric Ntlaba from the eastern Free State knows very well. Farming has always been part of the 34 year old farmer's life as he grew up on a 160 ha farm his father, Chris Ntlaba, bought at Petrus Steyn in 1995.

After completing his Diploma in General management and degree in business administration, he worked at various hotel groups in Bloemfontein and Gauteng. It was while he was manager at a hotel in Polokwane that he realised he wanted to fulfil his dream of being a farmer. He bought a 15 ha small holding in the area, and started farming with pigs in 2008.

He struggled with the grading of his pigs, and approached large pork producers in the Magaliesburg area to learn more from them. For three years he worked at the hotel during the week, while he farmed and worked with the farmers over weekends. To be able to farm, he saved for a deposit, cashed in his pension and applied for bank loans.

In 2012 Eric moved to his current farm, Tygerkloof, in the Lindley area. He leased the 251 ha farm for two years while applying for loans to be able to buy it. In the end he put up his mother's house for security and received a loan from the Land Bank. Eric also bought animals with good genetics from a well-known pig producer in Cullinan, Pretoria.

Since then he's build his farming operation into a thriving business of 2300 pigs. He employs three workers full time and markets 150 pigs per week, selling up to 600 per month. He currently delivers to Dreamland Piggery that provides, inter alia, Pick 'n Pay. He also farms with up to 1 000 chickens that he sells to the local informal market, while he produces maize on 120 ha and erected a mill on the farm to be able to produce his own feed. "The main goal of the mill was to curb input costs, and it paid itself within a year. Without it, we would not have been able to survive during the drought."

Eric believes that one must be passionate about what you want to accomplish. "If you know your worth, you will put everything in to make your dream work. I've also learned that you should stick with one thing until you do it well, and then you can grow your business further."

Saturday, 29 October 2016 10:38

Joshua Du Plessis

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Mr. Joshua du Plessis from the farm Middelbult at Delmas South Africa, 2016 Grain SA / Syngenta's Grain Producer of the Year.

Du Plessis and his wife, Sarah, and two of their sons, Joshua and junior Chandré, farm with biotech-free corn, soybeans, wheat, potatoes and Bonsmara cattle on irrigated and dry land. Their other son, Ruan, has his own business. There are many challenges, but also many opportunities due to the rising demand for food.

He says he is thrilled at the recognition. Commenting on his recipe for success,

Du Plessis says precision farming has made a huge difference in the family farming operation:
Friday, 28 October 2016 07:51

Jacques Beukes

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Jacques Beukes;  AGRI SA Youngfarmer of the Year  2016.

Jacques Beukes, a 35-year-old table grape producer from De Doorns in the Hex River Valley, is Agri Western Cape and Santam Agriculture's Young Farmer of the Year. He is married to Heleen and the proud Father of 2 daughters.

Jacques, who completed a B Com degree in Logistics at the University of Stellenbosch, has been farming for ten years on the farm Modderdrift. He is Agri Western Cape's regional representative, a director of the Hex Valley Table Grape Association, and chair of the Breede Valley municipality's producer forum.

'Young farmers bring new ideas and energy to the economy. They like new developments and challenges,' he says.

Jacques says he likes the table grape industry: 'I will continue investing in this wonderful industry. There are many challenges every day, but you have to convert them into opportunities. By striving for higher standards, you put your fellow farmers under pressure to raise their own standards. In this way you can contribute to a better agricultural industry in South Africa.'


Johann Hendrik Vorster Chief Executive Clover South Africa

After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (RAU) in 1985, Mr Vorster spent four years with Ernst & Young (previously Arthur Young). He went on to become a Senior Manager while completing his Honours through the University of South Africa in 1986 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) in 1987. His next three and a half years were spent with the South African Revenue Service as Assistant Director of Operational Research.

Mr Vorster completed his Master of Business Administration through the University of Witwatersrand in 1991 before joining East Rand Plastics Proprietary Limited in 1992. After several acquisitions, the East Rand Plastics Group of Companies was created, which finally became Astrapak Limited.

As Financial Director at Astrapak he was responsible for the company’s listing on the JSE in 1997. He became joint Managing Director of the Film Division of Astrapak before accepting an offer as Chief Financial Officer from the Clover Group in October 2000.

After four years in charge of the Group’s Financial Department, Mr Vorster was appointed Chief Operating Officer in September 2004. In July 2005 he became Deputy CEO to Robert Wesseloo and when Robert announced his retirement at the beginning of 2006, he was appointed as Clover’s next Chief Executive.

In December 2010, Clover made its debut on the JSE. Since listing at R10.50/share, the stock has surged 76% to R18.51, valuing the dairy group at R3.51bn.

Clover’s turnover rose by 56% to R9.63bn in 2015 and operating profit grew 34% to R501m.

The path to higher profits was set when Clover terminated a supply agreement with Danone. Ending that 15-year partnership enabled Clover to extract higher margins from making yoghurt, custards, desserts and fermented products that its agreement with Danone prevented it from doing.

Today, 45% of Clover’s profits are from nondairy products including ice tea, mineral water and fruit juices.

Last year, Clover was ranked the third-best company in SA for which to work, according to global advisory firm Deloitte.

What is next for Vorster? He says: “I am going to double the size of the business.” Asked over what time frame, he responds: “An entrepreneur doesn’t look at time, only opportunity!”

Prof Herman van Schalkwyk  CEO Suid Wes Landbou Leeudoringstad. South Africa.

He firmly believes that there is no substitute for excellence, and he is a great advocate of participatory management. That is Prof Herman van Schalkwyk in a nutshell. Not that he would fit into any nutshell – or box for that matter.

Herman van Schalkwyk who has distinguished himself in several fields was since 1 February 2010 in the position of Rector of the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University in South Africa until February 2016.

Over the years, Prof Herman has published 68 articles in academic and scholarly journals. He has also made 10 book contributions and has published six academic workbooks. In addition, he has published 52 popular articles, completed 102 research and project reports, presented 75 papers nationally and 38 abroad, as well as 132 popular science papers at events such as farmers days.

He was born in Johannesburg and grew up in Warden in the Eastern Free State where he matriculated in 1984,Dirkie Uys High School, Warden, South Africa

Agriculture is in his blood

The farmers days hint to Prof Herman’s background as a well-respected agriculturist. He obtained his doctorate in Agricultural Economics in 1995 at the University of Pretoria.

He later lectured at the same university and also at the University of the Free State. Prof Herman believes that his experience as lecturer and later as Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and as member of the University of the Free State's top management.

Friday, 04 March 2016 12:42

Jaco Minnaar

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Jaco Minnaar  GRAINSA  Chairman 2016

Free State Agriculture\'s Young Farmer of the Year for 2011.

Minnaar, who hails from Botesrust farm in the Henneman district, farms with cattle and game, as well as maize, soya beans and potatoes. Over the past five years, he slowly adopted precision farming techniques and he is now in the process of implementing minimum and no-till methods.

Minnaar future plans include expanding potato production and diversifying into legume production.

Friday, 05 February 2016 09:38

Koos Van Rensburg

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Koos Van Rensburg Managing Director, VKB Agriculture Limited

Vrystaat Koöperasie Beperk (VKB) is one of the few remaining agricultural enterprises to adopt a co-operative business model. Van Rensburg is very clear that the marketing function must adopt a two-pronged strategy—first, meeting the needs of producers and customers and then marketing their surpluses. As he explains, VKB is a highly diversified business with a vision to provide everything a farmer could conceivably need along the lines of a one-stop-shop.

Thursday, 04 February 2016 08:46

Danie de Wet

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Danie De Wet is recognised as the pioneer of white wine cultivars in South Africa and for his role in ensuring the industry's international competitiveness in the fields of vineyard practices, excellence in winemaking technology and promoting new grape cultivars.

Born on 27 August 1949 on the De Wetshof Wine Estate, Danie was educated at the Jan van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town. From an early age he showed an interest in farming and his natural surroundings on De Wetshof and initially considered a career in veterinary science.

But the magic of the winemaking process, which was then carried out on De Wetshof by his father, Johann, captured his imagination. And during his final high school years he urged his father to support his plans of studying viticulture and cellar in the heartland of European winemaking so as to gain broader approach to the wines and vineyards of the world.

From 1969 to 1971 Danie studied Viticulture and Cellar Technology at the world-famous Geisenheim Wine Institute in Germany. Exposed to a diversity of cultivars, the latest technologies and a scientific approach to winemaking, he returned to South Africa committed to introducing new and improved plant material to the wine landscape. His aim was in joining forces with other wine makers in showing the world that the country is capable of making premier white wines.

In 1972 De Wetshof became the first registered wine estate in the Robertson region and began producing the valley's first dry white wines, namely Rhine Riesling, Cape Riesling (Crouchen Blanc), Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

During his travels through Europe as a student, Danie fell under the spell of Burgundy and especially the noble Chardonnay grape. In 1981, after exhaustive experimentation and plant selection, De Wetshof became the first winery in South Africa to commercially market both Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in the country.

The quality of these "new" wines were quickly recognised. In 1984 the De Wetshof Sauvignon Blanc 1984 was named South African Champion White Wine. International recognition followed, with the De Wetshof Chardonnay 1985 being awarded the Grand Prix D’Honneur at the Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France.

Danie's role in establishing the Robertson region as an area conducive to fine wine production led to his being awarded the inaugural Pon van Zyl Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Robertson Region in 1987.

Other awards include the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (1993), the State President's Export Award for Export Achievement (1993 and 2001) and the British Wine Writers Association International Winemaker of the Year (1995).

Besides building De Wetshof into one of South Africa's premier wine estates, Danie has been involved with various industry bodies aimed at spearheading winemaking excellence. The positions he has held include membership of the SA Wine and Spirits Board, director of Winetech and the first chairman of VinPro.

Danie also served as chairman of the KWV Group Limited from 2004 to 2009.

De Wetshof's ties to the French wine industry has led to Danie having been inducted into the Commanderie du Bontemps de M'doc, Graves, Barsac et Sauternes in Bordeaux as well as well as the Chevaliers du Tastevin in Burgundy.

Since 2006 Danie has held a Celebration of Chardonnay event at De Wetshof. This bi-annual event aims to celebrate the quality and diversity of South African chardonnay and is a highlight on the wine calendar.

Danie is married to Lesca de Wet. They have two sons, Johann and Peter who are both actively involved on De Wetshof.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 10:39

Stephan Fourie

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Syngenta National Potato Farmer of the Year 2015 : Stephan Fourie

Stephan Fourie from Potato Pride in the Eastern Free State was awarded the Syngenta National Potato Farmer of the Year 2015 at Potatoes South Africa’s Banquet on Wednesday 30 September 2015.

Stephan Fourie obtained a BCom Accounting degree from UNISA in 2004 and completed his articles in the following year.

In 2006 his father in law presented him with the opportunity to farm on Potato Pride in the Eastern Free State. Assisted by his wife Sussa,

Stephan acquired experience in crop farming with, amongst others, maize, corn and soy bean, cattle farming as well as potato farming under irrigation.Stephan is involved in agricultural organisations as a member of Grain SA, Free State Agriculture as well as Van Reenens dorp Farmers Association. 

He ascribes his success as a leader farmer to the motto of Potato Pride, Driven by passion and proven by performance . With a passion for renewal as driving force, Stephan places a strong emphasis on the value that his workforce adds to his precision farming. For Stephan the challenge as top performer is not so much in competing with fellow producers, but rather in the aspiration to continuously improve the quality of his own product.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:57

Robin Meeske

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Robin Meeske, South African animal scientist .Specialist Scientist at The Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, University Pretoria, South Africa, 1981; Bachelor of Science in Agricultural (honorary), University Pretoria, South Africa, 1986; Master of Science in Agricultural, University Pretoria, South Africa, 1990; Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural, University Stellenbosch, 2000.
Agricultural advisory Department Devel. Aid, South Africa, 1981-1987; researcher Agricultural Research Council, Irene, South Africa, 1987-1995; dairy specialist, researcher Department Agricultural Outeniqua Experimental Farm, George, South Africa, since 1995; Contributor articles to professional journals.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 10:14

Pieter Spies

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Pieter Spies Hoof Uitvoerende Bestuurder Tiger Brands Suid Afrika.

Spies het vroeër direkteursposte beklee in die drankmaatskappy Brandhouse en die sjokolademaatskappy Cadbury en uitvoerende bestuurder van Telkom asook GWK op Douglas.

Vir Cadbury het hy sakebelange in Oos-Afrika, Europa en die Midde-Ooste bestuur.  Spies, wat aan die Hoërskool Goudveld in Welkom gematrikuleer en aan verskeie van die land se universiteite studeer het.

Onder sy leiding het GWK sy beste wins nog gemaak gemaak in die vorige finansieele jaar.

Spies het vroeër direkteursposte beklee in die drankmaatskappy Brandhouse en die sjokolademaatskappy Cadbury.
Vir Cadbury het hy sakebelange in Oos-Afrika, Europa en die Midde-Ooste bestuur.
Spies, wat aan die Hoërskool Goudveld in Welkom gematrikuleer en aan verskeie van die land se universiteite studeer het, sê hy sal wil sien dat GWK onder sy leiding stelselmatig en volhoubaar groei.
- See more at:
Spies het vroeër direkteursposte beklee in die drankmaatskappy Brandhouse en die sjokolademaatskappy Cadbury.
Vir Cadbury het hy sakebelange in Oos-Afrika, Europa en die Midde-Ooste bestuur.
Spies, wat aan die Hoërskool Goudveld in Welkom gematrikuleer en aan verskeie van die land se universiteite studeer het, sê hy sal wil sien dat GWK onder sy leiding stelselmatig en volhoubaar groei.
- See more at:
Spies het vroeër direkteursposte beklee in die drankmaatskappy Brandhouse en die sjokolademaatskappy Cadbury.
Vir Cadbury het hy sakebelange in Oos-Afrika, Europa en die Midde-Ooste bestuur.
Spies, wat aan die Hoërskool Goudveld in Welkom gematrikuleer en aan verskeie van die land se universiteite studeer het, sê hy sal wil sien dat GWK onder sy leiding stelselmatig en volhoubaar groei.
- See more at:
Friday, 15 January 2016 12:09

Ernst Janovsky

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Ernst Janovsky: Head, AgriBusiness, Absa

Responsible for the Agric Sector with in ABSA (Absa Corporate and Business Bank) agricultural strategy, product development, risk management and financial reporting Market intelligent as well as Management information.

Ernst Janovsky, head of Absa AgriBusiness since 2008, is one of the most respected agricultural economists in South Africa and a well-known speaker on agricultural economics. His sound academic background and extensive practical experience as a farmer and member of the agricultural industry at large has proven invaluable over the course of his career. He is also renowned as one of the few agricultural economists willing to make long-term predictions in agriculture.

Friday, 15 January 2016 10:12

Dawie Maree

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DAWIE MAREE Head of Information and Marketing Agriculture  FNB

Joined FNB Agriculture in February 2015 as the Head of Information and Marketing and is responsible for keeping decision makers in the bank and the bank’s clients informed about economic and other developments in the agricultural and broader economy.

Dawie is also responsible to expand the FNB Agriculture brand in the market through various actions, including presentations at conferences, farmers days and other important agricultural events. Growing up on a farm in the Ventersdorp district in the North-West Province, Dawie’s interest has always been in the agricultural well-being of South Africa. After obtaining his M.Sc. (Agric) Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria and MBA from the University of Antwerp Management School in Belguim, he gained a wide variety of experience in the grain, milk and food security sectors as agricultural economist. As contributor to the Dairy Mail, functionary of the Commercial Policy Committee of Agri SA and a member of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), he has been active in addressing issues such as disaster management, the linking of farmers to markets and other related issues directly affecting farmers in SA.
Friday, 15 January 2016 10:05

Nico Groenewald

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Nico Groenewald  Head Agribusiness Standard Bank South Africa.

Self-assured and enthusiastic individual. His eyes divulge a mischievous smile as he talks about his childhood and formative years. He comes from a family with strong roots in the agricultural community and has a passion for the land. Although their farming has always been operated as a part-time business, it has shaped his interest in the agricultural industry.  “Most people have a yearning to be closer to nature, to the soil and I am fortunate enough to have been exposed to the best of both worlds”, he says. Nico was recently appointed the Head of Agribusiness South Africa at Standard Bank.

Nico and his brother grew up in Mpumalanga on the Highveld spending much time on the family farm. He is still farming part-time. He laughs with some trepidation and adds that, “farming is a contact sport, because it is certainly not for the faint hearted.”

Nico studied at the University of Pretoria where he originally enrolled for Livestock Science. He later changed to Agricultural Economics after he decided to take a more commercial approach. He graduated in 1988 and joined Standard Bank after completing his military service. He started as a junior agricultural advisor. His career path then led to a position at an agribusiness which reinforced his interest to further cement his technical agricultural experience. During the five years in the field he also completed his MBA supporting his career objectives to accelerate further in commercial business. “I decided to take a more strategic approach as opposed to becoming a pure specialist”, Nico adds.

He then joined Standard Bank again in 1997 in an agricultural credit capacity and has never looked back. Nico’s tranquil character makes it easy to approach him and helps him to thrive in this challenging environment. He has fulfilled various leadership roles throughout the bank in various provinces and it is evident that he has a passion for people and is seen as an excellent leader.

He loves the outdoors and has an active lifestyle; currently he is training for triathlon. He met his wife at university and got married in 1990. They have two children; a daughter who studies at the University of Pretoria and a son in high school. His eyes light up when he talks about his family. It is clear that they are his pride and joy.

Being in the industry for more than two decades, he is confident that there will always be a future in agriculture and admits that the industry is at a very interesting point -  focus and energy is increasingly being channelled towards agriculture. He says the trick is to appreciate how macro trends and micro realities thread into the bigger picture to guarantee success. It gives one a broader understanding of the market, the farmer and the business,  and how certain trends or decisions will impact the farmer.

His vision for business going forward is to maintain the current momentum and to ensure that Standard Bank Agribusiness remains central to the current strategic engagements taking place, while being ‘thought-leaders’ in the industry. The Agribusiness segment has grown considerably within the bank and made agriculture very relevant in the broader business bank. With a charming smile he adds that the industry might have challenges, but that it remains a unique field with a lot of opportunities, both in South Africa and Africa. “Life ain’t no spectator’s game, you need to get your hands dirty.”

Thursday, 19 November 2015 14:47

John Purchase

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John Purchase is currently CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) of South Africa, having been appointed to the position in 2007. Prior to taking up the position with Agbiz, he was the CEO of Grain South Africa. Dr Purchase started his professional career as a scientist in South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC). In effect he served the ARC for 22 years in various research and managerial positions.

John was appointed to the Board of the Land & Agricultural Bank of South Africa in July 2012, as well as appointed as Council Member to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) by the South African Cabinet. John is the current chairman of the CEO Forum, a forum of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in which the CEO’s and MD’s of agribusinesses and organized agriculture meet with the Minister and senior executives of DAFF (government) to address the critical and strategic challenges facing the broader agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries of South Africa.

John was also appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to serve on the Reference Group that provided direction and oversight in the development of DAFF’s Integrated Growth and Development Plan (IGDP) for the South African agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, as well as currently serves on the AgriBEE Charter Council.

He serves on various Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) committees and NEDLAC task teams with regard to policy and legislation matters impacting on the agro-food industry, such as co-operatives legislation, consumer protection legislation (GM labelling), climate change and carbon tax policy, land reform policy and legislation, spatial planning and land use management legislation, expropriation legislation, et cetera.

Among other awards, he received the 2011 Alumnus of the Year award from the University of the Free State, as well as the 2012 South African Agriculturalist of the Year Award from the South African Agricultural Writers Association. In June 2013 he was also elected to the Board of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), following the IFAMA World Forum held in Atlanta, USA, in June 2013. Agribiz

Thursday, 19 November 2015 14:42

Schalk Pienaar

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Schalk Pienaar was elected as Chairman of Agbiz during the Congress of 2011. He has served on the Executive Committee of Agbiz since 2007. He holds a B.Com degree, University Education diploma and has attended various focused industry courses locally and overseas covering such areas as performance and productivity improvement, turnaround and change management as well as strategic leadership.

Before his retirement as the CEO of Suidwes Beleggings in 2012 (Southwest Investments) he served in various senior executive positions in that organisation. Prior to joining Suidwes (Southwest) he was a Divisional Director of Premier Foods during which period he was a Director of, as well as, Chairman of the National Chamber of Milling.

He also served as a member of the Maize and Wa
He has extensive experience in high-profile executive and non-executive managerial and director positions which was the result of his balanced exposure to and practical knowledge of policy, legislative and governance requirements complimented by senior positions in a diverse group of organisations.

Schalk has retired from the corporate world and runs a commercial cattle farming operation in the Free State. He maintains an interest in business and serves on various industry organisations. AGBIZ

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 15:22

Anthony Goble

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Anthony Goble INNOVATIVE management, new ideas and a passion for agriculture has made Tongaat’s Anthony Goble the national Agri SA / Toyota SA Young Farmer of the Year.

Goble was first awarded with the KZN Kwanalu young Farmer of the Year title a few months ago and went on to compete with industry leaders from around the country.

Goble is the fifth generation of his family to farm in Tongaat.

Aside form the 280ha family sugar-cane farm, Goble runs another five separate farms including 430ha of cane and another 340ha that he leases from land reform beneficiaries, bringing the total area under sugar-cane to 1050ha.

Since inheriting the farm after his father passed, Goble has diversified into 12ha of bananas and 5ha of macadamia nuts.

He also leases out 20ha a year to local madumbi growers as part of a crop rotation scheme.

Goble has made it his mission to look at the best and most innovative ways to farm and grow his crops while training his team to excel at their jobs.

The father-of-three said it was an amazing feeling being recognised for his years of work, but commended his family and management team for their support.

Monday, 19 October 2015 09:28

Omri van Zyl

Written by
OMRI VAN ZYL  Excutive Director AGRI SA

He took up the position of designate executive director on July 1, was previously  a senior associate at Deloitte heading up the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit and Business Development for Deloitte Consulting in Africa. He had also been the lead director in a multitude of agricultural consulting projects.

Van Zyl currently held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLB from the University of the Free State and an MBA from University of Pretoria.

He enjoy his Golf.

Van Zyl, who would take up the position of designate executive director on July 1, was presently a senior associate at Deloitte heading up the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit and Business Development for Deloitte Consulting in Africa. He had also been the lead director in a multitude of agricultural consulting projects, with Möller stating that and he was widely considered as a strategic expert in agro-investments, business process re-engineering and turnaround management, food security and poverty alleviation. Van Zyl currently held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLB from the University of the Free State and an MBA from University of Pretoria. Van der Rheede, who would take up the position of deputy executive director on August 1, was presently the CEO of the Afrikaans Handels Instituut. “He is highly experienced in operating membership organisations and has a wide network of national and international economic role-players. He was actively involved in the development and implementation of programmes aimed at transforming institutions,” notes Möller. His most recent focus was to inspire the leadership of business chambers and to find local solutions for local problems.

It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:
Van Zyl, who would take up the position of designate executive director on July 1, was presently a senior associate at Deloitte heading up the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit and Business Development for Deloitte Consulting in Africa. He had also been the lead director in a multitude of agricultural consulting projects, with Möller stating that and he was widely considered as a strategic expert in agro-investments, business process re-engineering and turnaround management, food security and poverty alleviation. Van Zyl currently held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLB from the University of the Free State and an MBA from University of Pretoria. Van der Rheede, who would take up the position of deputy executive director on August 1, was presently the CEO of the Afrikaans Handels Instituut. “He is highly experienced in operating membership organisations and has a wide network of national and international economic role-players. He was actively involved in the development and implementation of programmes aimed at transforming institutions,” notes Möller. His most recent focus was to inspire the leadership of business chambers and to find local solutions for local problems.

It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:
Van Zyl, who would take up the position of designate executive director on July 1, was presently a senior associate at Deloitte heading up the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit and Business Development for Deloitte Consulting in Africa. He had also been the lead director in a multitude of agricultural consulting projects, with Möller stating that and he was widely considered as a strategic expert in agro-investments, business process re-engineering and turnaround management, food security and poverty alleviation. Van Zyl currently held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLB from the University of the Free State and an MBA from University of Pretoria.

It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:
Van Zyl, who would take up the position of designate executive director on July 1, was presently a senior associate at Deloitte heading up the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit and Business Development for Deloitte Consulting in Africa. He had also been the lead director in a multitude of agricultural consulting projects, with Möller stating that and he was widely considered as a strategic expert in agro-investments, business process re-engineering and turnaround management, food security and poverty alleviation. Van Zyl currently held a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch, an LLB from the University of the Free State and an MBA from University of Pretoria.

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Monday, 14 September 2015 11:15

Fanie Brink

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Fanie Brink - Independent Agricultural Economist.

Fanie Brink is an independent agricultural economist, advisor and mentor with more than 40 years experience in the agricultural industry in South Africa. He was for almost 20 years a Senior Agricultural Economist and Deputy General Manager: Research and Development with Grain South Africa. He was most of his career directly involved in the profitability and sustainability of grain and oilseeds production and marketing, food security, value chains and bio-fuels development. He obtained a BSc-Agric degree from the University of the Free State in 1974 and a MSc-Agric degree from the University of Pretoria in 1978.

Monday, 14 September 2015 11:12

Senzeni Zokwana

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Mr Senzeni Zokwana is the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa from 26 May 2014. He is also chairperson of the South African Communist Party and a Member of Parliament.
Senzeni Zokwana is a South African politician. He is a Member of Parliament and currently serving as the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, having been appointed by President Jacob Zuma in May 2014He previously served as the President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

He became involved in trade union activism in 1980 during the apartheid-era in South Africa at the President Steyn gold mine in the Free State. He joined the ranks of NUM in 1983, became a shaft steward in 1984 and was elected to the branch executive committee in the President Steyn Mine in 1985. He subsequently moved up the ranks to become branch chairperson in 1987, vice regional chairperson in 1992 and regional chairperson from 1993 to 1994. He was first a shift overseer on safety matters and in 1995, he joined the NUM staff as a safety officer, after proving himself a dedicated advocate of modern mine safety techniques. Mr Zokwana was elected as vice president in 1994, a position he held until 2000 when he was elected president. He was subsequently re-elected for the role and held the position until 2014.

In 2005 Zokwana was elected as President of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions in 2005 and was subsequently re-elected in November 2011. Additionally, he was elected as Vice-President of the global union federation IndustriALL Global Union on June 19, 2012. He was born in Eastern Cape 4th March 1956
Monday, 14 September 2015 10:46

Cobus van Coller

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Weed control affects all soya bean producers. It is thus necessary to gain perspective on how a producer can handle weed control in practice.

What are the challenges to effectively apply weed control in real farming conditions?

Mr Van Coller has had to overcome many challenges in effective weed control, with soya bean being a relatively new crop on the sandy soils of the Viljoenskroon district.

Monday, 14 September 2015 10:31

Chris Venter

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Christiaan Philippus (Chris) Venter. Group Chief ...
Former Chief Executive Officer of AFGRI Limited ... Former Group Financial Director at AFGRI Limited ...

he group&amp's main activities are: handling, storage, marketing, financing and related activities with regard to grain and cotton, supply of agricultural production requisites, services, mechanisation equipment, insurance as well as agricultural financing; and adding value to agricultural produce such as maize products, grain sorghum products, animal feed, poultry, cotton, seed and other products.

Monday, 14 September 2015 10:20

Ralph Swart

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Ralph Swart

The 2014 Grain SA/ABSA New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year was awarded to Ralph Swart of Swart Boerdery situated in Elim, Western Cape. Ralph, the first ever finalist, and subsequent winner from the Western Cape, produces wheat, barley, oats, triticale and rooibos tea and has been farming on his own for the past 33 years and is the third generation farming on the same land. Ralph has a passion for agriculture and is a true entrepreneur, always willing to assist smaller farmers in his area with equipment and advice.


Monday, 14 September 2015 10:15

Richard Carey Hobson

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Richard Carey Hobson
The 2014 Grain SA/Syngenta Grain Producer of the Year was awarded to Richard Carey Hobson of Nonen Ranch, situated in Setlagole in the North West Province. After completion of his studies, Richard started farming with his father Carey on the farm Papiesvlakte, and following the acquisition of Nonen Ranch in Setlagole in 2002, took full responsibility for the farming operations and its subsequent significant expansion.

Under the expert management of Richard, the farming operation forms an integral part of the Botselo Holdings group, comprising 10 450 hectares, spread over the three farms, namely Nonen Ranch, Papiesvlakte and Lawn. Botselo Farming forms part of Botselo Holdings which includes Botselo Mills, Botselo Grain and Botselo Carriers. In 2006 Richard started with conservation agriculture that led to significant increases in profitability and sustainability of each of his diversifications.
Monday, 14 September 2015 10:06

Sphiwe Machika

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From a humble general worker, Sphiwe Machika has risen to broiler team leader in two years.

Machika, who works at the Gauteng-based Rethabiseng Farming Project, was promoted to the position of broiler team leader in December 2012 after she showed remarkable leadership skills.

Having shown great initiative in the short time that she worked there, the 28-year-old has been trusted with the training of newly recruited casual workers. She takes pride in teaching them the ropes and showing them how to work on the farm.

Machika says her achievements have encouraged her to pursue a career in agriculture and she now intends to obtain a diploma in agricultural studies.

She currently counts looking after the irrigation equipment among her duties, but her responsibilities also include record keeping on the use of pesticides, yields and costs.

The 6ha farm does not only comprise of chicken broilers, but also produces vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, cabbage and spinach.

It is in the broiler section that she shines — among her duties are weighing chickens, checking their medication and handling sales.

On a daily basis, Machika also ensures that the team she leads performs the required tasks.

Monday, 14 September 2015 10:03

Nomzamo Khoza

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At 27, Nomzamo Khoza is the youngest winner of the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries’s female entrepreneur of the year award.

Khoza was honoured for her outstanding achievements in farming and the breadth of her product distribution networks.

Her 100% natural products are sold in South Africa as well as Mozambique and Argentina. She also aims to expand her business to the US.

Based in the Mnini area, near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal, Khoza owns a farming enterprise which makes People’s Bio Oil and Morana Fire for Africa.

Through the farming enterprise, Khoza produces 201 natural products such as tonics, hair food, body products and seasoning made from the moringa tree.

This tree grows in Africa and Asia and its leaves — which can be chewed or ground to a powder — are considered a super food because they are rich in vitamins A and C.

They are also excellent sources of calcium, potassium and protein.

Khoza also grows chillies and parsley, which are dried for seasoning. The enterprise employs 120 people in its nurseries, farm, offices and factory.

Her business is committed to the development of rural communities by providing business and farming skills.

Khoza received R1-million in prize money and says she had not expected to get this far with her venture. “Agriculture right now is the only way to go,” she says.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 08:42

Piet Karsten

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Piet Karsten
Piet and Babsie Karsten founded their family farming business in 1968 on Kanoneiland west of Upington along the Orange River. Years later in 1980 they bought the farm Roepersfontein, which is now The Karsten Group’s head quarters. The Karsten Group is one of South Africa’s leading agri-businesses respected both locally and internationally for the excellence of its products, cutting edge innovation and integrity in its dealings with staff, service providers and customers. The Karsten Group strives to further optimize productivity in order to increase profits and to develop products and markets that will enable us to create more jobs. The Front Runner Award 2014 (OSH Reinecke) went to Piet Karsten (Snr). Mr Karsten was recognised for his commitment and excellence in serving the industry over a pro-longed period.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:50

Johan Dique

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Johan Dique was appointed managing director of Capespan Group Ltd in January 2011. He has a track record of exceptional business leadership and performance, most recently during nine years at the helm of Senwes. After qualifying as a chartered accountant, he occupied positions of increasing seniority and responsibility at companies such as Premier Group, Tiger Brands, Epol, Sasol Two and Agricor.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:19

Bennie van Zyl

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Bennie van Zyl, TAU SA general manager.

"Our country is facing a bleak future ahead, unless economic stability and growth are achieved and maintained. Poverty and unemployment are some of the factors contributing to this."

He encouraged farmers to pool their resources to beat rising input costs. “Everyone wants to be the boss of their own farm, but there are many benefits to farming together. If six farmers are farming next to each other, why not use economies of scale to bargain for better prices.”

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:56

Gerrit van Zyl

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Gerrit van Zyl was crowned as the ARC best stud Breeder in South Africa during 2009 &2011 as well as the Voermol Best National Beef farmer 2011. Gerrit van Zyl is practising our Controlled fodder flow grazing management strategy for 5 years and has improved the effective grazing capacity of his farm by 40% within the same period and to 30% above the departmental recommended grazing capacity for his area. 

His animal performance is outstanding as can be seen from his ARC awards as best national stud breeder twice within three years with a average ICP for 369 days.  Gerrit is a Bonsmara stud breeder with a breeding phylosophy that is compatible with the breeding of veld adapted animals that will adapt in a variety of environments.   This stud breeder is according to our evaluation a breeder that will have a very positive influence on the "road" stud breeders will follow in South Africa during the next decade or two

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:48

Dr Theo de Jager

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Theo de Jager, the vice-president of South Africa's largest commercial farmers' union, AgriSA, is also the chairman of its land affairs committee.
Dr. Theo de Jager is currently the President of SACAU and deputy president of Agri SA. He formerly served as the president of Agri Limpopo, executive member of Agri Letaba, Chairman of the Trichardtsdal farmer association and farmed in the Tzaneen district since 1997 in South Africa.

been deeply involved in hiscountry's highly charged land reform, and has even lost a farm of his own in the process. But recently, De Jager has been doing some different work for his organisation: travelling around Africa looking for land that he and other South African farmers can acquire, on a large scale. De Jager's first success was in Congo-Brazzaville. The government promised him and his fellow farmers as much land as they might want throughout the country, along with freedom from import duties, taxes and restrictions on the repatriation of profits. De Jager and about 15 other South Africans set up a company called Congo Agriculture, and negotiated a contract with the government for 80,000 ha. The first 48,000 ha were divided into 30 farms for the participating South African farmers. De Jager says that he's already picked out plots for himself, and intends to produce oil palm, timber and cattle.
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:39

Charl Senekal

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Charl Senekal is South Africa’s largest private sugar producer. Innovative thinking – and the guts to put his money where his mouth is – won him the Agricultural Writers’ Association of South Africa’s National Farmer of the Year award in 2002. With 3 500ha irrigated sugar cane in Mkuze and Pongola, his Senekal Suiker Trust produces 360 000t of sugar cane annually. And with the recent news that land claims on his land are likely to be degazetted, Charl plans to increase land under cane by 1 600ha and production by 200 000t/year. 

Clearing 200ha bush nestling up against the Ubombo Mountain is already well underway. Sugar production contributes some 80% of farming turnover. Charl’s other business interests include a 25% share of the Umfolozi Mill, the cane hauling business Sentrans, 16 500ha bushveld under game, shares in the Pongola Game Reserve and a construction company.

With the Jozini dam a few kilometres away, and a water use licence to irrigate 6 000ha, irrigation forms the backbone of the sugar operation. This has preserved the bottomline at a time when drought is hitting rainfed canegrowers hard.“Drought hasn’t affected us much,” Charl says. “I farm with water and pipes. 

We irrigate night and day if necessary. But we have our own weather station on the farm and keep a close eye on the rain. If we can switch off the pumps for just one day, we save R30 000 in electricity.”Irrigation is by a computerised drip system, known as open hydroponic irrigation. Metered quantities of nutrients are released and dissolved in the water tanks before irrigation, which places the nutrients right into the root zone for maximum uptake. 

At R25 000/ha, the initial irrigation infrastructure is expensive. Charl’s fertiliser bill averages about R2 100/ha per year, while a rainfed sugarcane farmer may spend in the region of R1 200/ha. “I spend more, but get twice the yield,” he explains. “Our cane stalks are probably 2,5 times higher than those on the North Coast.”

Nitrogen is the main fertiliser component. “We use 180kg/ha nitrogen annually while on the coast they only use 120kg/ha,” says Charl. “They have different growing conditions. While we irrigate frequently, they rely on rainfall, which is erratic and makes the take-up of nutrients erratic. Even if they put down more nitrogen, the plant won’t take it up.”Charl reckons he farms 30% cheaper than smaller farmers thanks to his economy of scale. 

Because he buys inputs in such large quantities, companies want to do business with him, so he can negotiate cheaper prices. “We buy huge volumes,” he says. “We use 20 000â„“ of diesel daily. It isn’t cheap to farm the way I do.” The cutting edge of mechanisation. The farm is highly mechanised, improving efficiency and reducing labour costs. 

“I use one labourer per 3ha,” he says. “Automating the irrigation system alone saves me 150 irrigation labourers, or R3 million a year.”A long inventory of machinery and earth moving equipment includes three cane harvesters (at R3 million apiece), four bulldozers, four excavators, dumpers, earthmoving tractors, and 450-horsepower eight-wheel tractors.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 17:08

Dr Bertus Olivier

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Dr Bertus Olivier was van November 1993 tot Desember 2001 die hoof uitvoerende beampte van WPK. Hy het die oorskakeling van dié voormalige koöperasie na 'n maatskappy onderneem. Onder sy leiding het WPK ook na die Benede- Oranjerivier uitgebrei.

Met sy uittrede op die ouderdom van 60 jaar in 2001 was hy 38 jaar in diens van die landbou. Vóór sy aanstelling by WPK was hy besturende direkteur van die SA Wolraad (1 Januarie 1989 tot 31 Oktober 1993), en voor dit hoofbestuurder van die Eierraad.

Dr. Bertus Olivier (72), voorheen hoof uitvoerende beampte van WPK (nou Kaap Agri) is oorlede in April 2014.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:16

Attie Scholtz

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Attie Scholtz (35) holds a BCom honours degree in Business Management and farms on Vaallus in the Douglas area near Kimberley in the Northern Cape. He farms with lucerne, maize, wheat, barley, beef cattle. He also owns and runs a transport business which he uses to mainly transport lucerne from his own farm and the neighbouring farms. Scholtz was chosen as the 2013 Young Farmer of the Year.

Due to Scholtz’s innovative actions and driving force, his farming operation has grown significantly during the past 7 years irrespective of the huge impact natural disasters (2 floods) had on his business.  The irrigation land has more than doubled, while a comprehensive infrastructure and range of farming implements and machinery was established. Scholtz is producing lucerne of the highest quality, to such an extent that he receives a premium price for the product. 

He investigates several marketing options that are utilised to ensure the highest prices for his crops and livestock. In addition to this, his high level of training enables him to do his own recordkeeping and planning, while he also utilises the available knowledge and skills of other agricultural experts in his business
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:08

Rossouw Cillie

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Rossouw Cillié of the farm Laastedrif in Ceres was named Farmer of the Year in the 2013 Agricultural Writers’ South Africa Farmer of the Year competition. As early as 2003 60% of the ownership of Morceaux farm in Ceres was transferred to a group of farm workers. Morceaux is an 93 ha apple and pear farm adjacent to the town of Ceres.

Cillié explained that Laastedrif uses the latest technical techniques in order to produce fruit of international standard.

Secondly, Laastedrif has adopted an aggressive replanting plan with the newest generation varieties.

They aim to develop 150 new hectares of apples in the next five years.

To assist in this, Laastedrif has even started their own nursery to grow their own "tailor-made" 3-year-old trees. By growing and diversifying their farming and business activities Laastedrif Farming has managed to guarantee financial stability and sustainability.

Protecting biodiversity is one of the cornerstones for Laastedrif Farming and apart from their direct involvement in several conservation efforts, all farming activities are run according to best industry practise guidelines for natural resource management.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the business is the care and attention that is given to ensure a safe and happy work environment for the farm workers at Laastedrif.

Workers have the opportunity to benefit from, amongst others, training courses to broaden their skills sets, schools and crèches for their children, an on-farm clinic (with full-time trained nurse) and library.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:06

Boeboe Louw

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BOEBOE LOUW 2014 Free State Young Farmer of the Year goes to Boeboe Louw from Wesselsbron.

For the past three years,Boeboe Louw, wife Annelize and their two children have farmed on Bloudrif in the Wesselbron district. He has been a farmer for 15 years.

Louw said: “To make a positive contribution to the image of the farmer in South Africa is one of the most important aspects which young farmers should focus on within the country’s economic sector.

Louw en sy vrou, Annelize, boer met mielies, koring, lusern, sonneblom, skaap, en veldbees. Daarmee saam is hy ’n spuit- en stroopkontrakteur en bou hy die werktuie vir sy boerdery self. Boeboe het 'n netjiese boerdery, sy betrokkenheid by georganiseerde landbou en die goeie verhouding tussen hom en sy werkers is uitstekend. Louw se raad aan ander jong boere is om voluit te boer en oplossings vir probleme te kry.


Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:58

Maurice Boki

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Maurice Mthandeki Boki was born in Matatiele. He attended St Columbus Primary School and thereafter went to Mariezell High School in Matatiele. He left school in Grade 10 and went to St Anthony's Mission where he obtained his matric certificate. He then moved to Johannesburg and worked at Germiston Municipality for three years. After leaving the municipality, he started working for Twins Pharmaceuticals (Adcock Ingrams) for twelve years. He left the pharmaceutical company in 1977 and bought a trading station in Matatiele, which still exists. In 1995, with the aid of Land Bank, he bought Horncroft farm, which is situated between Cedarville and Taylorville, and has been residing here ever since. He grew up with, and has a passion for agriculture. Maurice married Kholiswa in 1977 and they have four children. He attended crop production, beef production, farm record keeping and farm business management courses at Cedara.
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 11:14

Johan van Zyl

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Johan van Zyl
Van Zyl Boerdery cultivates potatoes under dryland conditions due to the topography of the potato fields. A mere 25 hectares are under irrigation and through leasing additional land, a four year rotation period is made possible. Only certified seed potatoes are planted.

Johan Van Zyl is closely involved in cultivar and other potato production trials conducted by the Eastern Free State Potato Workgroup. Before any cultivar is planted, or a product is used, or production practices are implemented, its mettle must first be proven during trials.

The bulk of the Van Zyl Boerdery potato crop is marketed through the fresh produce markets and delivered to the potato processing industry. The cream of the crop are marketed in special windowed bags. Mr Van Zyl has been a potato farmer all his life and has no desire to be anything else. He said: “It is a privilege and honour to be selected as the National Potato Farmer of the Year. The potato industry is challenging. This award is not due to my efforts alone, it was a team effort. Without the support of my family, industry, the workers on the farm and, most of all, the grace of God, the success of Van Zyl Boerdery would not be possible”.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:09

Callie Louw, Porseleinberg

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Bearded, baseball cap-wearing renegade Callie Louw, described by South African wine writer Neil Pendock as, “the Che Guevara of the Swartland”, is causing a stir in the region with his elegant Syrah from boutique winery Porseleinberg; the Swartland project of established Franschhoek estate Boekenhoutskloof. Louw works with up-and-coming viticulturist Rosa Kruger at the organically run, 2.5-hectare estate boasting shale heavy soils where the roots penetrate deep.

He picks early and practises whole bunch pressing, relying on the grapes’ natural yeast for fermentation. Replanting widely at the estate, Louw declares much modern winemaking to be, “just a cover-up for bad farming.” Seeking freshness, elegance and wines that can age, he feels he has solved the issue of over-ripeness in South Africa.

His debut 2010 vintage produced just 3,500 bottles of Rhône-like Syrah full of rosemary, lavender, spice, and red and black fruit. Porseleinberg’s beautiful raised white labels are made on a 1940s printing press. “I love the rusticity of Mediterranean grapes. The Swartland Revolution is too honest to be trendy. I’m just a farmer hoping to redefine my origins,” he says. His 2011 release, crafted from 100% Syrah, has been entirely fermented in concrete eggs.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:05

Craig Hawkins, Testalonga

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Topping our list of hot shots to watch is envelope-pushing enfant terrible Craig Hawkins, chief winemaker of organic Swartland estate Lammershoek. Born in KwaZulu-Natal, the ever-ambitious Hawkins also makes daring natural wines under his own Testalonga label, founded in 2008, including El Bandito old bush vine Chenin Blanc.

Inspired by the skin contact wines of Friuli and Slovenia, the wine spends six weeks on its skins before being aged in French oak for two years, while his zero sulphur Cortez Chenin Blanc spends two years on its lees. The result is a pair of inimitable wines with a wild nature, bold aromatics and rich flavours. Hawkins’ ultimate goal is to work biodynamically. “I’m an idealist, so I‘m drawn to the purity of natural wine,” he says.

Before Lammershoek, Hawkins spent four years working for the Swartland’s spiritual leader Eben Sadie and travelling around Europe, working harvests at Sadie’s Priorat property Dits del Terra and Niepoort in Portugal. He also has a side project making Blaufränkisch for Dirk Niepoort’s Austrian venture Muhr-van der Niepoort. “I like to challenge people’s ideas of what they believe wine should be; I’m constantly searching for new ways of doing things,” he says.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 10:08

Dr Kit le Clus

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Dr Kit le Clus

He obtained his B.Sc.Agric degree in 1965 from the University of the Free State and was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics in 1969. In 1975, he joined the private sector and was manager: research and development at the National Maize Producers’ Organisation (Nampo) from 1981 to 2001, and was also involved with Grain SA. Dirk Strydom, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State, was one of his students and in later years worked closely with Le Clus.

“He made an enormous impact on agriculture in South Africa. He was, amongst other things, involved with the deregulation of the grain industry when the marketing boards were disbanded. He was a direct, but fair person. There was always a reason for the opinion that he held.”  Dr Kit Le Clus,  has passed away in Bloemfontein after an illness.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:34

Prof Eckart Kassier

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Eckart Kassier spent most of his professional career as Professor and Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Stellenbosch.  His lecturing programme and graduate student guidance centred on farm business management, production economics and operations research.

He has also been active in the field of agricultural development and project appraisal.  He served on the boards of directors of a number of development projects as well as on the boards of large scale commercial farming operations.  He has been a member of various national committees of enquiry relating to specific agricultural industries, development corporations and research institutions.

Considerable experience was gained in the field of agricultural marketing, first as chairperson of the Committee of Inquiry into the Marketing Act, which recommended that the marketing of agricultural products be deregulated.  Secondly he was subsequently appointed as the first chairperson of the newly established National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) whose responsibility it was to manage the process of deregulation.

A dr. agrar. graduate of the University of Hohenheim, Eckart is in private practice as a consultant.

Each emerging farmer who fails, and each agricultural upliftment project that is aborted, is a nail in the coffin of the commercial farmer - Prof Kassier
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:30

Dr Kobus Jooste

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Dr J M (Kobus) Laubscher  Non-Executive Director [B.Com (Hons), M.S., Ph.D.]

Dr. Kobus Laubscher has been CEO of Grain SA since January 2008 and took compulsory retirement in May 2011.  He is a qualified agricultural economist with a PhD in this field. Kobus's employment history includes the following: Professor at the University of the Free Sate, visiting professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Illinois and managing director of various companies.

He also fulfilled various leadership roles: he was member of the Council of the University of the Free State and also chairperson of the Audit committee. Kobus was chairperson of Productivity SA as well as chairperson of the Audit Committee of the Dept of the Premier of the Free State and served in the

Economic Advisory Committee of the Premier of the Free State. He currently serves as chairman of Farmvision, a consultancy firm and as a member of the Cluster Audit Committee for two departments in the Free State provincial government.

He is also a non-executive director of Agrico Machinery (Pty) Ltd and serves on various committees of that board. He is also a member of several other unlisted agri-businesses. He has extensive experience as a strategic consultant for various Agricultural businesses and as an expert witness. Kobus was appointed an associate of the World Academy of Productivity Science, the first recipient thereof in SA Agriculture.

Please sent us more information if needed.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:57

Japie Grobler

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Japie Grobler BIuris, LLB

Non Executive Chairman, Chairman of Nomination Committee, Ex-Officio Member of Risk & Sustainability Committee, Ex-Officio Member of Audit Committee, Ex-Officio Member of Remuneration Committee, Ex-Officio Member of Social & Ethics Committee and Ex-Officio Member of Investment Committee, Senwes Limited

Japie Grobler chairman, Senwes agricultural company Klersdorp South Africa. BJuris, LLB

Japie Grobler is a farmer, in the north western Free State, on the road between Bothaville and Klerksdorp, actually much better known for farmers is right there across the Nampo Harvest Day. This is where I farm. But grew, farm school grew, Bothaville High School. From the Navy and studied at Potchefstroom. I did but when I arrived at the farm, immediately became involved as our secretary at we Vierfontein Farmers Association. At the study group, men study group involved by Viljoenskroon District Farmers Union, Free State Agriculture, Free State oilseeds and eventually now Sampi, even then, member of top management, in other words to the mieliekant and later Nampo became, and today Grain South Africa. But if the lines to Agri SA, where at least I finally made a turn, after many years of involvement. Moneyweb.

Afrikaans.. Sen Wes

Japie het LLB aan die Puk gestudeer. Van sy lekkerste studentedae herinneringe is bloktyd: “Dit was die enigste tyd van die jaar wat ons regdeur die nag kon brug speel en nonsens praat.

“O, en ons het baie sports gehad in die Republiek van Tarentaal – my ou Morris T was Tarentaal se ampsmotor. En wat van die keer toe ons ‘n watertenker by die Hoofgebou se trappe opgery het! Hoe ons dit reggekry het, moet jy nie vra nie. Die munisipaliteit het ‘n dag lank gesukkel om dit weer daar af te kry. Ons het by die tronk gedraai!” onthou hy.

Hy is vandag baie bly dat hy in die regte gestudeer het. “Dit help my elke dag. Alles wat ‘n mens doen en sê, het ‘n finansiële of regsimplikasie. Veral as ‘n mens, soos by Agri SA en Senwes, ander mense se sake hanteer. Dit was beslis die regte rigting waarin ek gestudeer het.

“Ek het altyd geweet dat ek sou boer – soos my pa. Toe ek egter regte gaan studeer, het hy gesê ek moet dan maar sien kom klaar. Hy was bang ek sou nie eendag kom boer nie.

“Ek het vakansies transport gery en op die spoorweë en paaie gewerk en my só deur universiteit gesit. Ek het darem ook ‘n staatsdiensbeurs gehad en was destyds vir ‘n jaar in die vloot waar ek ook geld bymekaargemaak het,” vertel Japie.

In 1977 het hy saam met sy pa op die plaas Karookom, naby Viljoenskroon, begin boer. Só ‘n gesaamboerdery stel nogal unieke uitdagings aan pa en seun. Op ‘n vraag watter raad hy vir pa’s en seuns het wat saamboer, antwoord hy:

“Dit is altyd ‘n moeilike situasie en kan steurend op verhoudings inwerk. ‘n Mens moet die onderskeie werksgebiede afbaken. Albei kan nie baas wees nie. Elkeen moet presies weet waar hy staan.“Stel horisonne waarheen die seun kan werk. Die eerste drie jaar werk hy soos ‘n gewone arbeider en leer om alles op die plaas te doen. Die volgende drie jaar kan hy sekere bestuursbesluite begin neem en daarna as ‘n saaier by sy pa werk. Daarna kan hy op sy eie gaan. Dan is daar iets waarheen die seun kan werk,” sê Japie.

Wenke vir jong boere
Dié gesoute boer het vyf wenke vir jong manne wat pas begin boer het of eendag wil boer:

  • Konsentreer op die dinge wat jou pa reg doen. Hy het al ‘n ver paadjie gekom en het gekom waar hy nou is deur die regte praktyke te volg. Leer by hom.
  • Gee jou pa die erkenning wat hom toekom.
  • Sluit so gou as moontlik by ‘n aktiewe studiegroep aan. Leer by jou medeboere, vra vrae, vergelyk jou boerdery met ander s’n sonder om te kompeteer.
  • Leer van dag een af dat jy eers ‘n wins moet maak voor jy kan koop. Moenie die eerste jaar al sommer vir jou ‘n nuwe bakkie koop nie. ‘n Mens moenie skaam wees om tweedehandse voertuie of trekkers te koop nie. Koop eerder ‘n nuwe trekker as ‘n nuwe bakkie. Ek het byvoorbeeld eers na 26 jaar in die boerdery die eerste keer vir my ‘n splinternuwe bakkie gekoop.
  • Bly op hoogte van die tegnologie. Doen kort kursusse en spesialiseer in bemarking. Dit is vandag die grootste uitdaging.

Eienskappe van ‘n suksesvolle boerdery
Soos wat dinge vandag lyk, is ‘n suksesvolle boerdery volgens Japie:

  • winsgewend
  • goed gediversifiseerd
  • netjies

Op ‘n vraag oor wie die grootste invloed op sy boerderyloopbaan gehad het, antwoord Japie sonder om twee keer te dink. “My vader, Flip en etlike bure het ‘n groot invloed op my boerderyloopbaan gehad. As ek een by die naam kan noem: Toppie van der Linde.

“Ek is saam met hom in ‘n studiegroep en ons was al saam oorsee. Hy is altyd bereid om met alles te help. En jy moenie die ou arbeiders op jou plaas onderskat nie. Ek het al meer by hulle geleer as by al die ander saam,” sê hy.

Beste advies ooit ontvang
Volgens Japie is van die beste advies wat hy nog ontvang het om nie al jou eiers in een mandjie te sit nie.

“Deel jou risiko. Diversifiseer. Jy moet eers kan kruip voor jy kan hardloop. Kruip lank genoeg sodat jy later in staat kan wees om te kan hardloop,” redeneer Japie.

Advies vir medeboere
Met die lae mieliepryse, hoë insetkoste, arbeidswetgewing, SEB en grondhervorming wil baie boere nou die boerderyhanddoek ingooi. Japie het die volgende advies vir hulle:

“As jy nie geloof in jou Skepper het nie, staan jy nie ‘n kans nie. Konsolidasie in hierdie tyd is ook baie belangrik. Betaal die hoë renteskulde eerste en herskeduleer jou ander skulde sodat jy ‘n langer termyn het om dit te betaal. Wees 100% eerlik met jou finansierders.

“Geleenthede wat wisselbou bied, moet ook nie onderskat word nie. Dit kan jou help om te oorleef. Jy kan op vorige jare se kunsmis oorleef. Benut geleenthede,” beveel Japie aan.

Drie lewensreëls
Daar is drie lewensreëls waarvolgens Japie leef:

  • Eerlikheid
  • Stiptelikheid
  • Lojaliteit

Op ‘n ligte noot
As hy met een bekende persoon (uit die verlede of hede) kon middagete eet, wie sou dit wees en hoekom?

“Dis ‘n goeie vraag. Daar gaan so baie name deur my gedagtes! Anton Rupert of een van die ander suksesvolle sakemanne. Dit sal interessant wees om besigheidsideale met hulle te bespreek.”

Waarmee kan hy omgekoop word?
“Die enigste ding is ‘n drukkie van my kinders – en hulle weet dit ook!”

Drie dinge waarsonder hy nie kan klaarkom nie?
Resente inligting, lojale vriende en my huismense en personeel.

Visie vir Senwes
As Voorsitter van Senwes is Japie se visie vir Senwes die daarstel van gefokusde aparte besigheidseenhede wat elk in eie reg op ‘n langtermyn basis wins maak.

Ons sluit die gesprek af met ‘n laaste vraag oor ‘n droom wat hy nog wil nastreef. “Ek wil nog verder gaan studeer – Besigheidsadministrasie. Ek kom net nie daarby uit nie!” antwoord Japie.

Hy sal...
En soos wat ons hom leer ken het, sal hy dit nog doen – al doen hy dit as hy eendag 70 is.

Japie se persoonlike gunstelinge

Kos: Sjokolade – ek steek die sjokolade eintlik vir my huismense weg!

Drankie: Klipdrift en Coke

Sjokolade: Enige lekker sjokolade

Seisoen: Herfs. Dit is die mooiste tyd van die jaar as alles so begin verkleur. Dan is ‘n mens sommer ontspanne ook – jou oes is gemaak, jy kan niks daaraan doen nie.

Tyd van die dag: Vroegoggend as die son net opgekom het.

Vakansieplek: Hartenbos – daar is nie ‘n beter plek nie.

Boek: Ek is maar lief vir landboutydskrifte.

TV program: 7de Laan – ek sorg dat ek dit nie mis nie. Ek sal van die werk wegsluip om dit te kyk. ‘n Mens ontspan lekker en kry kans om af te sluit.

CD/musiek: Menige van die Oldies. Ook Elton John en Elvis.

Kleur: Groen

Sport: Atletiek

Rugbyspan: Vrystaat – daar is nie eens twyfel nie.

Japie se boerdery

Kontantgewasse: Mielies, sonneblom, koring en grondbone

Weiding: Meerjarige weiding en natuurlike veldweiding

Vee: Bonsmara-vleisbeeskudde – vir die produksie van speenkalwers. SA Vleismerinokudde – vir die produksie van speenlammers en wol


  • ‘n Wisselboupraktyk is belangrik vir volhoubaarheid.
  • Die lande is gekarteer en gewaskeuses word volgens grondtipes gedoen.
  • Grondmonsters word tweejaarliks geneem en ‘n bemestingsprogram word daarvolgens uitgewerk om die maksimum opbrengspotensiaal van elke grondtipe te bepaal.


  • Trekkeroperateurs ontvang die nodige opleiding.
  • In die diensrekords word die uur- en kilometerlesing (weekliks) en diesel-, enjin- en ratkasolie-lesings (daagliks) aangeteken.
  • Die plaasbestuurder gaan ook op ‘n daaglikse basis die olie en water van alle masjinerie na.


  • Minimum bewerking, stoppelbewerking, spoorverkeer en die opheffing van verdigtingslae.


  • Hy bemark sy graan deur gebruik te maak van markinstrumente.
  • Sy vee word aan voerkraalondernemings en op veilings bemark.


  • Personeelrekords word op ‘n personeeladministrasiestelsel bedryf en elke werker teken met sy indiensneming ‘n dienskontrak waarin die personeelbeleid, diensvoorwaardes en plaasreëls uitgestip word.
  • ‘n Werkerskomitee verseker dat daar effektiewe kommunikasie tussen die werkgewer en werknemers is.
  • Voorsiening word gemaak vir afsterwe in diens en aftrede.
  • Personeel het ook toegang tot dienste soos skole, mediese dienste, gesinsbeplanningsvoorligting, sportgeriewe en ‘n gemeenskapsaal.
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:51

Jannie De Villiers

Written by

Jannie de Villiers was born in the Free State in 1961.  He obtained a BCom at the University of the Free State and a BCom Hons in economy at the University of Pretoria. He started his career as an economist at the Department of Agriculture where after he spent 24 years in the grain/food processing sector. In 2011 he joined Grain SA (grain producers’ organisation) as the CEO.

He plays a strong leadership role in the grain sector through the positions that he holds on the Boards of various Trusts and industry serving companies.  He has represented South Africa internationally on various occasions regarding grain and food matters. Jannie is also an active member of his Church and serves as the chairperson of the Moreleta Park Association, serving pastors and church leaders. He is married to Retha for 27 years and they have three children.

He believe

Food security and sustainable production are the main priorities for South Africa. World food prices are currently very high. The Food and Agriculture Organisation global food price index is currently higher than in 2008, when we had huge food price spikes that caused panic around the world. The focus in agriculture during the next 10 years will be on food security and production, not on processing. I will definitely spend a lot of my time ensuring that there’s enough food in the country.

We don’t only need to make farmers profitable – we need to be food secure. My take on the market is that the global need for food will encourage production – and that will probably improve profits in the long run. On the supply side, we need to keep on working to reduce input costs and increase yields. On the demand side, we must take immediate action in terms of biofuel and grow the poultry industry to consume more maize locally.

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