Wouter Beukes, a table grape farmer from the Hex River Valley, has been awarded the Santam Agri-sponsored Young Farmer of the Year of the Western Cape title at a recent function at Goudini. Winning the title qualifies Beukes for the Toyota SA Agri competition, whose winner will be announced in November in Johannesburg.
Beukes farms on De Modderdrift with 100ha of table grapes, predominantly for the export market. He also produces raisins, wine and grape juice. “I work to run my business in an ethical and just manner, while improving the social conditions on my farm,” said Beukes, who has also provided for a church, a garden and a day care centre for the 150 employees who work on his farm.
Beukes has also doubled his table grape production over the past five years, and established the Uitspan table grape packhouse to enhance his personnel’s income capacity. “The quality and stature of all the finalists, and the winners in particular, show that the young farmers of today are ready and willing to be the leaders in agriculture tomorrow,” said Carl Opperman, chief executive of Agri Western Cape. – Wouter Kriel
MEC tackles food security at ground level
To mark the beginning of a new food security campaign, KwaZulu-Natal agriculture and environmental affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu handed over farm implements to the value of R500 000 to women’s farmer groups in poverty stricken areas north of Durban over the Women’s Day weekend. “ultimate aim is to encourage communities to get back to farming by giving out seed starter packs and implements to poverty stricken households,” said Mthimkhulu.
“The campaign also looks at improving cleanliness, environmental awareness and protection, and good land cultivation practices.” O n 8 August the MEC handed over R200 000 worth of implements, including fertiliser, hoes and seed packs, to Ndwedwe women and youth farming groups. Ndwedwe Municipal Mayor S’the Mhlongo matched the amount, increasing the total government investment to R400 000.
The programme creates direct employment for 40 women from destitute families. n 10 August Mthimkhulu handed over R300 000 worth of implements to the Masilime Sonke Project, a women’s programme near uMzinyathi. The project has created 40 direct sustainable jobs to poor women and youth. M thimkhulu called on women from the communities to form a partnership with the agriculture department to create more work and eradicate poverty. – Robyn Joubert
Profert takes a swing at healthier soil
To highlight its Save our Soil initiative, fertiliser company Profert recently hosted a series of golf days to create awareness of the soils’ need for sustenance. Located in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, the Princes Grant golf course afforded the perfect setting for Profert and 70 of its most valued regional clients at one of the golf days.
Fred Vickers played flawlessly and secured himself the Profert Plus regional trophy. He’ll be off to the final in Sun City later in the year. he event was a marked success. Not only did producers from the area learn the value of expert soil nutrition, but it was also an opportunity for local farmers and Profert representatives to relax and enjoy the greens. – Staff reporter