Moments ago, an Eastern Cape cattle farmer, Dr Pieter Prinsloo, received an honorary award from Agri SA for his noteworthy contribution to the 116-year-old federation of agricultural organisations.
Omri van Zyl, chief executive of Agri SA Enterprises, made this announcement during Agri SA’s annual congress which is scheduled to end just after lunchtime today. In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the congress is held virtually with members attending from across Mzansi.
Van Zyl lauded Prinsloo, a part-time dentist from Queenstown, for his contribution to Agri SA’s commodity chamber. The chamber’s current head, Jolanda Andrag, described Prinsloo as incredibly innovative.
“He is a genuine people’s person with a passion for the industry. He has a comprehensive understanding of all the challenges. As (former) leader he helped us to strike a balance between the protective elements in agriculture, but also the growth elements.”
In an earlier interview with Food For Mzansi, Prinsloo described his passion for farming, saying that the pandemic has also presented new opportunities for agriculture to reach consumers.
Prinsloo champions food with integrity
He said, “We became reconnected to food again. We are more cognisant to the prominence of our food. People have started asking questions. If the shelf is empty they want to know why. I think it has created a scenario where people are more connected with the origin of their food. This evolution had to take place. The mass production of food with no traceability or no knowledge of origin was going to change and it was going to be a slow process, but covid-19 has actually sped up that process.”
These days, Prinsloo is also a director of the Integra Trust championing accessible, affordable, safe and healthy food produced with integrity using sustainable and regenerative methods. Langside Meats, his farm in the upper reaches of the Black Kei river basin, is widely known for its certified grass-fed beef.
Andrag said Prinsloo positioned their chamber as a platform for cooperation. “I do not think Pieter sits still for one moment of the day. If you call him early in the morning, he is usually following the news.
“By 08:00 he is in his consulting room. If you call him, he will answer quickly and say, ‘Hold the line. I’m quickly numbing-up a patient…’”
In an earlier interview with A Greener World, an organisation that strives for transparency in food production, Prinsloo said, “We consider ourselves nature’s partners because cattle production has the potential to restore the grasslands. Growing out the cattle in our three-year system allows for recovery and regeneration of the natural grasslands. It is great for both the animals and for conservation.”
Prinsloo is also one of the farmers featured in For the love of the land, a book authored by Ivor Price and Kobus Louwrens, which focuses on the power of land to promote nation building and social cohesion through agriculture.