Highlighting pressing issues such as water, land and access to markets has been the greatest gift from Food For Mzansi to farmers in the past five years, with many considering it the voice of the voiceless for many unheard farmers.
Lebogang Matsose, a crop farmer in North West, said Food For Mzansi (FFM) has a special place in her heart because it was the first ever publication to write a story about “How to buy municipal land” and the article meant a lot for her and the business.
‘I can do it’ spirit
“For me, the highlights are to read about another farmer because that is motivation on its own. The stories give that spirit of you can do it. It is nice to read about a fellow black farmer with whom we are at the same level.
“I’d like to thank Food for Mzansi for supporting us as farmers, writing about us and motivating us to go further. Continue growing as a publication and grow to be a great publication for farmers,” she said.
Ndivhuho Nengwenani a chilli farmer from Vondo in the Vhembe district in Limpopo said the publication had played a critical role in ensuring that food security, biosecurity, and access to markets were on top of the agenda.
Food for Mzansi has made agriculture fashionable
“The publication has made agriculture fashionable, especially in local and remote areas. My message to the publication is: keep up the good work and continue with events that are aimed at bringing information to us as farmers, we appreciate it,” he said.
Standerton-based crop farmer Donovan Gumede explained that Food For Mzansi helped him get his business out there to the public and more people have grown an interest in his produce.
He said his biggest highlight is that whenever he needs an answer to an issue he had on the farm, for example, water-related, the Food for Mzansi website is able to provide all the answers he needs.
“Please do not stop what you are doing, because you help us become better farmers. You guys give us all the knowledge that we need and I recommend that farmers who need help, turn to Food For Mzansi for solutions,” he said.
Opening funding doors
Angelo Marman one of the co-founders of Abitzfarming based in Riverlands, outside Cape Town states that the Food for Mzansi platform provided the company with exposure to the public sector, specifically Land Bank.
According to him, the publicity is beneficial to the development of their business since, after the article was published, they are currently in the process of purchasing a farm through Land Bank.
He notes that this decision was made due to the exposure he received. He also mentions that their company is now being considered for investment development, which is expected to take place very soon
Mikie Mkhatha, the founder of Morris Mavis Agri Field, based in Pretoria, believes that Food For Mzansi has made a significant impact on the farming community in South Africa. She credits the platform for highlighting the experiences of farmers from all walks of life.
Catering for everyone in all corners of SA
“There is no publication that touches as many people as FFM does. From women and teenagers to people with disabilities, every one of us matters, and we hope that you continue to do so for many more years to come,” she said.
She said saying the overwhelming support she received from loved ones upon reading her story let her realise how remarkable her job is. Everything fell into place for her at the Young Farmers Indaba 2023 in Johannesburg where she met many inspiring farmers and exchanged information.
Pamella Goldstone, founder of A-Myl Fresh based in Chatsworth in KZN, credits Food For Mzansi with helping her expand her horizons and network with other farmers and businesses. Since being featured on the platform, she has been able to build new relationships and partnerships, leading to increased opportunities and growth for her business.
‘It is a flex to have been sharing my story and get positive comments from total strangers. To all female farmers, I would say, the money is in the soil, don’t give up, it’s hard but press on what you believe in, we keep praying for worth and value,” she said.
Expanding networks, sharing knowledge
Maphate Rakoma, a farmer based in Polokwane, has been able to broaden her network and connect with other farmers from across the country. She sees the platform as a valuable resource for building relationships, sharing knowledge, and growing the agricultural sector.
Rakoma highly values Food For Mzansi’s efforts to create meaningful connections between farmers through their farmer’s day events and bursaries. She sees this unique approach as crucial to building a stronger agricultural sector and supporting farmers like herself.
“FFM, may your knowledge and expertise continue to grow as you serve the people of Mzansi in this sector,” she said.
Leshalagae Mojapelo, a farmer and soil science graduate from Limpopo, experienced significant exposure and indirect marketing for himself and his produce through Food For Mzansi . Since his interviews, he has gained more clients and developed stronger relationships with relevant colleagues. Additionally, he has improved his interactions with other farmers, clients, and students/learners.
Learning from others
He mentioned that the most thrilling aspect for him was being exposed to new experiences and having the opportunity to learn from others. Also, he appreciated hearing the perspectives of various consumers regarding the products they produce.
“I would like to congratulate FFM for the milestone they’ve reached, I wish they can grow more, do more for future farmers, students and learners and keep on doing a good job in improving the lives of South Africans through agricultural activities,” he said.
Poultry farmer, Thulisile Mokwena wished Food For Mzansi a happy birthday. She said the content it has provided over the past five years has been beneficial to her and her agribusiness.
“I get to relate and connect with other farmers in different areas within my space to learn about their experiences in farming and that assists me a lot to continue improving my business mode.
“My greatest highlight regarding FFM is being featured not once but twice and I appreciate you so much for that. Continue to offer us amazing content that inspires and plays a key role in empowering and benefiting us,” she said.
Helping careers take shape
Diary and livestock farmer from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal Thabo Skhosana said the most important thing was him starting to read about the publication when his career started taking shape in the agricultural sector.
“The publication has really inspired me and showed me from reading the articles that it was really possible to conquer a lot of agricultural space. Learning never stops so I continue to grow a lot from the information I get from the publication.
“My biggest highlight was when I was featured in three articles, but especially the first one which opened many doors for me. My message to FFM is: Continue giving farmers a good platform and encouraging young people to venture into agriculture,” he said.
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