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CONVERSATION WITH DOUG OSLER, FREE STATE AGRICULTURE YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR 2021

Food For Mzansi audience and engagement editor Dawn Noemdoe chats to the winner of Free State Agriculture’s Young Farmer of the Year competition, Doug Osler. Find out what he plans to do next, how his family gave him the support he needed to win the competition and even if he’s a two-toned, veldskoene or skinny jeans kinda young farmer.

TEAM FOOD FOR MZANSI TRIES OUT PLANT-BASED BURGER PATTIES!

There’s a lot of hype around plant-based meat replacements, so #TeamFoodForMzansi decided to check it out for ourselves. The team did a taste test to see how a plant-based burger weighs up against Mzansi’s beloved beef. Find out how to do a plant-based braai here

THROUGH THE EYES (AND EARS) OF A BEEKEEPER

What makes the job of a beekeeper so interesting? Your food security depends on bees and beekeepers. Trees and plants need bees, and bees need beekeepers. We explore the fascinating world of beekeeping in South Africa. Read the full article here.

Special thanks to Brendan Ashley Cooper and Cape Pollination Services

WHAT IS IT ABOUT BEES THAT MAKES BEEKEEPERS SO IMPORTANT?

What on earth does a beekeeper do and why is it important for food security? We explore the fascinating world of beekeeping in South Africa. Read the full article here.

Special thanks to Brendan Ashley Cooper and Cape Pollination Services

ONE WOMAN POWERHOUSE

Berene Sauls doesn’t walk. She power-walks. She is at work, and it is not by moving slowly that she had worked her way up from au pair to brilliant winemaker before she turned 35. 

Her very first batch of Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir earned her a near-perfect score from several Masters of Wine. It also earned her the words “next South African pinot noir icon” by renowned Master of Wine Greg Sherwood. 

But the story of her life after school started at a much humbler place. Read the full article here.

THE STORY OF MAVIS

Mavis Hlatshwayo (55) has always worked hard to ensure that her children have a good education, and now they assist their mother in growing her herd of Nguni cattle and with various other aspects of running a farm.

Mavis’s son, Vincent, studied animal production, and now helps his mother and various other members of the community in farming and animal husbandry.

With the help of Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, the Hlatshwayo farm has implemented new farming techniques and are now harvesting over 8 tons per hectare.

“I want to increase the number of hectares I’m farming on and move forward,” says Mavis.

FUTURE COMMERCIAL FARMING

Growing up on a farm, Paul had some experience with livestock, but moving into the world of modern farming was quite an eye opener. While Paul knew the ins and outs of business, planting for profit was a totally different game, so he set out to learn all he could. Taking many training courses offered by Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, Paul learned more than just how to be a commercial farmer.

As a practical, hands-on leader, Paul has earned the respect of his employees, and is constantly seeking new ways to move forward. Paul is now renting another plot of land and he has big plans for expanding his farm.

A NEW VISION FOR FARMING

Thembalihle Tobo has a fresh new vision for farming: to shorten the chain and grow vertically through value-adding. Thanks to good rainfall, his 15 hectares of maize brought in a harvest of over 5 tons per hectare. His maize is distributed to local businesses and a local miller, while he also uses it to feed his own cattle.

He works very closely with Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, doing trials for different seed varieties on his farm. As chairman of the local Grain SA study group, Thembalihle collaborates with other members of the community. Visionary man that he is, he focuses on soil health for long term growth. His passion remains the future of farming.

A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES

Building on the solid foundation laid by his late father, Vuyani Lolwane was introduced to the world of possibilities lying in the loam soils of the Lichtenburg area. Working with Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, Vuyani has adopted modern farming techniques. He’s adapted his crop rotation system to hedge against market fluctuations.

FROM FOREMAN TO FARMER

This patch of farming land in Bultfontein carries a lot of meaning for Edwin Mahlatsi. He grew up in the area, and later became the foreman of the farm Swartlaagte. Edwin joined Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, after the death of his employer at Swartlaagte left him without work, lacking capital or equipment. Grain SA helped Edwin gain a leasing agreement for the farm. As a team, Edwin and Grain SA developed a plan to put the 210 hectares of soil to best use. The teamwork of his daughter Doreen and Grain SA mentor Christiaan Bouwer have helped Edwin yield 5,5 tons per hectare of maize.

FOR THE LOVE OF FARMING

The magnificent maize fields of the Mthethwa family are a testament to Wiseman Mthethwa’s hard work and love of farming. Wiseman says that if you want to be a successful farmer, you need to have a love for what you’re doing. A farming history that stretches back to 1987 and training received from Grain SA, a non-profit organisation representing the grain producers of South Africa, helped Wiseman build the family business. Each member of the family plays a part in turning this farm into a successful business. But at the end of the day, Wiseman’s greatest passion is nature.

“When the maize is green and still small, […] I lie down in the field and look at the beautiful produce,” says Wiseman.You may not know it, but mushrooms are big business in SA.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE MUSHROOMS?

Have you ever wondered how mushrooms are grown? We speak to Wilmare Lotz from Boland Mushrooms to find out how they are grown. Read the full article here.

Special thanks to Wilmare Lotz and Boland Mushrooms

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