Pictured from the left is Deon van der Ross (VKB’s Executive Manager: Corporate Marketing and Retail), Kobus Louwrens and Ivor Price (the founders of Food For Mzansi) and Francois Swanepoel (Executive Director: VKB Landbou Vrystaat).
Pictured from the left is Deon van der Ross (VKB’s Executive Manager: Corporate Marketing and Retail), Kobus Louwrens and Ivor Price (the founders of Food For Mzansi) and Francois Swanepoel (Executive Director: VKB Landbou Vrystaat). Picture: Ishan van Blerk

One of the Free State’s leading agricultural companies, the VKB group, has announced a historic partnership with the Farmers For Change movement to help promote a more diverse and nuanced image of South African agriculture.

Farmers For Change is led by media personality, Ivor Price, and digital strategist, Kobus Louwrens. It will engage especially black South Africans through a series of initiatives under the “Food For Mzansi” umbrella, to create a greater love for the country’s farmers, farm workers and others agricultural roleplayers.

Since its inception almost a century ago, the VKB Group has been devoted to finding solutions for the ever-changing and diverse needs of agricultural producers and related stakeholders. The group is a leading employer in the Eastern Free State and Limpopo countryside, providing employment to approximately 5 500 people.

VKB continuously invests in initiatives and infrastructure projects for the benefit of the rural communities it serves.

According to Deon van der Ross, VKB’s Executive for Corporate Marketing and Retail, the Farmers For Change Movement is one of the largest pro-agricultural movements in recent history. “We are doing everything for the love of the land. We are convinced that agriculture can save South Africa, despite massive political and economic pressures on the industry and our farmers. The Farmers For Change movement plays a critical role in creating broader awareness of the diversity of role players and opportunities offered by agriculture.”

Price, a proud agricultural ambassador and multi-award-winning journalist, says he has travelled more than 100 000 km in the past year alone to tell stories of exceptional farmers as part of a television show. He is now convinced that farmers do more than any other group to promote South Africa. “VKB, as a visionary and dynamic agricultural company, immediately welcomed Farmers For Change’s vision. Together, we now create a new opportunity to boast the diversity of, and opportunities within, the agricultural industry.”

Louwrens, a digital strategist and co-owner of the YehBaby agency, describes Food For Mzansi as an initiative to highlight the often neglected heroes of the agricultural industry. “We unashamedly share success stories and good news from the farmers and agri-entrepreneurs who feed South Africa. We believe in the power of agriculture to promote nation building and social cohesion through stories often overlooked by the broader society.”

Food For Mzansi will promote agriculture through a dedicated website, social media platforms and a nationwide initiative targeting high schools, as well as other projects to reach people at grassroots level.