Highlights from Afasa’s 3rd AGM

The African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) held its 3rd AGM from 19-21 October in Irene, outside Pretoria.

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Over 400 members attended the congress, including Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti and Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Zokwana. Topics discussed included sustainable land reform, communal tenure and the importance of smallholder farming to food security.

Farmer’s Weekly compiled this photo gallery: 

Mike Mlengana, Afasa president (right) with Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. Mlengana hands Minister Nkwinti a gift of fresh produce, grown and packaged by Afasa members.

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The congress was well attended with farming communities and organisations from the nine provinces, represented. There was a high level of engagement from members in the audience,
including farmers who needed translators to present their questions, comments and arguments.

Aggrey Mahanjana, Afasa secretary-general, takes the floor to respond to news that only 5% of the budget allocated to land reform and transformation in the Eastern Cape has been spent this year.
“We were told as early as April that there was not a cent available for recapitalisation,” he said.

Gwede Mantashe (right), SG of the ANC with Mike Mlengana at the Afasa gala dinner.
Mantashe said there were many success stories in black farming to inspire developing farmers. 

(From left): Dr Langelihle Simele, Afasa founding executive director, Minister Gugile Nkwinti,
Mike Mlengana, president of Afasa, and Andrew Makenete, agricultural economist.

“Farming is like a contact sport, you get injured and you have to be tough. Agriculture contributes 12% to the economy and creates 650 000 jobs. Directly and indirectly there are 8,5 million people dependent on farming in SA,” said Nico Groenewald, head of agribusiness at Standard Bank, primary sponsor of the event.

Dr Jameson Nesane of Limpopo told Afasa members he had just delivered 3000t of tomatoes to Tiger Brands. His advice to farmers anout their workers: “enjoy your workers and be proud of them and they will be ready to work with an open mind and good attitude. Help them with an open heart.”

Lucky and Paulina Semetse, from the North West, attended the conference as part of a large
group of farmers from that region. Lucky wore his hat as a badge of honour and
said he had made it from the skins of jackal trapped in anti-predator drives.

Djamluti Goqweni, cattle farmer from the Amatole region in the Eastern Cape, pleads his case as he asks for better security of tenure in the district’s communal grazing lands. He said the unpredictable nature of decision-making among chiefs meant cattle had to be moved without warning and the practice of reasonable rotation was impossible.