After months of criss-crossing the province looking for the Western Cape’s best agricultural workers, 16 regional winners were chosen from more than 1 300 entries. The competition aims to recognise the hard work and dedication of the province’s agricultural workforce.
Isaac Ntoto from Garden of Eden Berries in Brandwag, Mossel Bay was announced as the big winner of the Prestige Agri Award at a gala event held, walking away with prizes in excess of R100 000. Ntoto oversees all the technical aspects of the farm, ranging from soil sampling to fertilisation and integrated pest management. In addition, he plays a role in new employee recruitment and induction.
Western Cape MEC of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer, said: “Congratulations to Ntoto on his well-deserved win. I look forward to engaging with him and hearing his thoughts on issues which affect agricultural workers in our quarterly engagements.”
“I am also very pleased that we saw an increased number of entries from young people in the competition this year. Developing opportunities for the youth is one of my priorities as Minister of Economic Opportunities, and agriculture, as one of the cornerstones of our economy, is key in helping us drive this.”
Other regional winners
Isak Bartman, a foreman at the Kloovenburg wine and olive farm in Riebeek Kasteel, was the Swartland’s regional winner. Bartman says this award means a lot to him and that everyone has a chance in life. He believes this competition has taught him that perseverance pays off.
Alfred Dyantyi, a foreman at Frankenhof farm in Swellendam, won the Overberg regional award. He says winning this award felt like walking on clouds. Dyantyi was delighted that God opened these doors for him to be able to participate and win.
In the Langeberg region Odile Adams, the Human Resources administrator at Graham Beck Wines, was the winner. Adams won both the region’s administrative and agricultural worker of the year categories. She hopes to inspire other women to believe in themselves.
Brendon McKenna, the production manager at Radyn farm in Clanwilliam, won the Olifants River regional award. “This is so unexpected but it’s a nice feeling to know I was the best in the competition,” McKenna says.
The Hex Valley regional winner was Petrus Adolf, a section manager at Nirvana Farm, one of the A.S. Viljoen farming units in the Valley. Adolf says he wants to show the youth that they can aspire to become proud farm workers as the role they play in agriculture is of vital importance.
Andrew Jafta, a general worker at Le Mirage, won the Klein Karoo regional award. Jafta says this award means more doors will open and anyone that gives their best will come out on top.
Justin Jooste, a middle manager on the Moreson Trust Farm in Villiersdorp, was the winner in the Elgin, Grabouw, Villiersdorp and Vyeboom region. Winning this award means a lot to Jooste. “It motivates me and other people working on farms to live out their dreams and to be proud to work on farms,” says Jooste.
Manuel Mackensie, a pest control operator from Donkerbos farm in Citrusdal, won the Witzenberg regional award. According to Mackensie competing against other regions excites him about the future of the agricultural sector.
Marthinus Swarts, the irrigation manager at Heldervue Estates, won the Piket Bo-Berg regional award. Swarts says this award means a lot to get recognition for the work he does on the farm.
Tawfeeq Brinkhus, who works in animal production at Chamomile farming, won the Durbanville regional prize. Brinkhus says he would like this to be an opportunity to expand in poultry farming and to empower others in the industry.
Stellenbosch winner Joseph Muller is the production manager at Meerlust farm. He never gave up entering this competition. Muller walked away with the Middle Management Award for his work on the farm.
In the Central Karoo, Johannes Bezuidenhout is a manager at Rondawel farm in Richmond won the regional award. Bezuidenhout won the Middle Management prize for his work on the farm. He says winning the award is inspiring and this has also changed his outlook of the business.
Berg River regional winner Jerome Samson, a sprayer operator at Irene farm, says winning the competition was a privilege. Samson won in the Technical category and hopes to be placed in a higher position in three years.
Christie Davids from Anthonij Rupert farms in Franschhoek walked away with the Middle Management award. Davids says winning this award was a good indication that he has the potential that others see in him. He hopes to plow back into the community adding that he would like to farm one day.
Jan Maritz is a Junior manager at Bellevue farm in the Breede River Valley. Maritz says winning the junior manager award means growth for every farm worker and he’s looking forward to the challenges ahead.
Food For Mzansi is an initiative to introduce South Africans to the unsung heroes of the agricultural industry. We unashamedly share success stories and good news from the farms and agri-businesses who feed South Africa. We believe in the power of agriculture to promote nation building and social cohesion by telling stories that are often overlooked by broader society.