The Young Farmers Indaba kicked off with a successful first day and to top it off, Food For Mzansi in collaboration with Kagiso Trust announced five recipients of the inaugural Mzansi Changemakers Awards.
The awards ceremony was held on earlier this evening at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg with some of the top players within the agricultural industry in attendance.
These changemakers have tirelessly devoted themselves to advancing the growth and prosperity of promising farmers, filling the vital role of empowering and guiding the next generation of agricultural leaders.
Mankone Ntsaba, the chairperson of the board of the Kagiso Trust, said, “We aim to provide a comprehensive solution for new or black farmers to overcome the biggest obstacles that farmers face, which is access to markets, unlocking funding and ensuring technical support.”
Meet the changemakers
Sulaimaan Patel accepted the first award with gratitude. His unwavering dedication to the agricultural sector and commitment to inclusivity has led to remarkable achievements during his tenure at Agri SA.
“It’s not often that I am at a loss for words. I never saw this one coming it is a real honour for me. You as farmers inspire me, it is not the other way around, without saying much thank you very much,” Patel said.
Barbra Muzata, former brand and communications lead for Corteva Agriscience in Africa and the Middle East, is a remarkable changemaker whose visionary leadership has transformed the lives of young farmers and agripreneurs across Africa.
“It would have not been possible without the assistance of all people I have worked with. The people have pushed me to find solutions to some of the challenges that women face in agriculture. This award I accept on behalf of all the SoilSistas and people in other areas whose paths I have crossed,” Muzata said.
The awards continued as Tumi Moropane, who is dedicated to driving positive change, improving livelihoods, and ensuring the supply of fresh, high-quality produce, was also named a recipient.
Afasa CEO joins winner’s circle
Malapane Thamaga has shown exceptional dedication and passion for farming and agriculture. As the manager in the office of both the president and CEO of Afasa, he played a vital role in establishing the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa Commodity Chambers. Lefuno Netshikhudini accepted Thamaga’s award on his behalf.
Finally, Professor Naudé Malan, a leading figure in sustainable urban agriculture and the development of a socially equitable food system, was also named a winner. Through the Izindaba Zokudla project, he has pioneered multi-stakeholder engagement and action research, creating opportunities for urban agriculture in Soweto.
“Whatever I do I cannot do alone, You have to really do this with commitment and integrity, but I also enjoy it and it is great. This is really for all the people who have supported me so far,” he said.
According to co-founder and editor-in-chief Ivor Price, it is such a profound and historic moment as this is the first awards ceremony hosted by the Food For Mzansi Group.
“Recognising the work that is being done by our farmers truly shows that we care for the craft to take care of our nation. It is with pride and joy that we are sharing the love and appreciation the way the changemakers do,” he said.
Chairperson of the awards committee and an advocate for inclusivity in agriculture, Dawn Noemdoe, said the winners were nominated by a diverse range of agricultural stakeholders, including farmers, industry experts, and community leaders. Selecting the final winners from such an impressive pool of nominees was a challenging task.
Measuring the nominees’ impact
“The awards committee carefully reviewed each nomination, considering the profound impact these mentors have made on their mentees and the agricultural community at large. After much deliberation, we narrowed it down to five exceptional individuals who truly embody the spirit of the Mzansi Changemakers Awards,” she explained.
Congratulations to all the winners!
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