Just over 70 delegates will be attending the much anticipated fourth Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit (AAYFS) in Centurion in Gauteng next week.
Just over 50 delegates will be attending the much anticipated fourth Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit (AAYFS) in Centurion in Gauteng next week.

Young farmers from all over Mzansi will descend on Centurion in Gauteng next week for the fourth Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit (AAYFS) – a highlight on the agricultural calendar.

To ensure high-level engagement, the summit is limited to just 70 movers and shakers. Registration is due to close soon, with AFASA Youth Chairperson Nono Sekhoto-Iga encouraging the last farmers to prioritise their applications to this prestigious event.

READ MORE: ‘Let’s debunk the myth that black people can’t farm’

The two-day summit under the theme “Harnessing technology to grow profitable farms” empowers young farmers to take their enterprises to the next level. It also provides farmers with a rare opportunity to participate in discussions with leading agricultural stakeholders. Several top speakers are on the line-up.

Many confirmed delegates have shared their excitement about #AAYFS2019, including Thato Lekhera who farms in the Free State. She says the summit is a great platform to connect with other farmers in the industry. “I’ve been attending the AAYFS since 2016 and the information is always very helpful for young farmers.”

Siviwe Tikana on Rosendene Dairy Farm
Siviwe Tikana on Rosendene Dairy Farm.

An East London based dairy farmer, Siviwe Tikana, will be traveling more than 1 000 kilometres to attend the summit on 21 and 22 August at Leriba Lodge. “I am rather excited to listen to how other agricultural entrepreneurs and farmers are handling our current economic and political situation in South Africa.”

Another enthusiastic farmer, Mangaliso Mtimkulu from the Free State, says, “Attending the previous AAYFS helped me a lot (in excelling in my business). Especially when it comes to accessing relevant information regarding the farming business and networking with fellow farmers.”

Agbiz chief economist and a member of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture Wandile Sihlobo, is excited to share his insights in one of the summit’s panel discussions. Sihlobo echoes that the summit is the perfect place for young farmers to network with agri-leaders and urges them to attend.  “I will talk about the agricultural outlook in the economic climate and give attendees a sense of SA’s agricultural economy at the moment and the changes that can be expected.”

Sihlobo, who was named Agriculturist of the Year by Agricultural Writers SA last year, believes those attending the summit will get a complete picture of the current state of the nation’s agricultural sector.

“Young farmers will also have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders who have deeper insight on the industry.” – Wandile Sihlobo

Among the other scheduled speakers and panellists are Matthew Callot-Stevens from Gordios Farms, Matthew Piper from Khula, Bridget Evans from the SAB Foundation and Thabi Nkosi, an agribusiness investment strategist. Dr. Vuyo Mahlati, who has just led Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s land reform advisory panel, will open the summit in her capacity as AFASA President.

Sought-after entrepreneur and private equity investor, Polo Leteka, is also scheduled to address delegates.  Leteka, who is the chairperson of IDF Capital, has done ground-breaking work to create greater access to finance for black entrepreneurs and women-owned enterprises.

Nono Sekhoto, Youth Chairperson of the African Farmer's Association of South Africa (Afasa) debunks the myth about black farmers
Nono Sekhoto, Youth Chairperson of the African Farmer’s Association of South Africa (Afasa) debunks the myth about black farmers

According to GrowthShoot CEO and AFASA Youth Chairperson, Nono Sekhoto-Iga, this year’s summit also includes an awards ceremony. Since its establishment, AFASA Youth has been reliant on young people who have volunteered to empower fellow young farmers. “The awards ceremony seeks to honour these youth leaders from various provinces,” she explains.

#AAYFS2019 is proudly supported by Corteva Agriscience. Other partners include Standard Bank, Land Bank, the SAB Foundation and Food For Mzansi. VKB, a leading agricultural enterprise, has also committed to sponsoring the registration fee of no less than six young farmers.

More information on www.afasa.org.za.