South Africa’s oldest agricultural society recently celebrated a full 190 years in the industry. As part of the festivities, Agri-Expo dedicated an award ceremony to prominent role players in the sector, and the iconic Joyene Isaacs was one of them.
She chats to the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast team as the recipient of the Agri-Expo Honorary Award and talks about her important work as the head of department at the Western Cape department of agriculture.
Her surprise at receiving the award is evident. “Getting the award was surprising because I thought, ‘Jeez, I’m like, retired now? And they’re giving me this award?’ ”
The role she was honoured for, required her to work with people from all walks of life. “When you’re in that position, you can’t choose. Everybody has a contribution to make.”
A token of inclusivity
After her initial surprise and puzzlement at the award, acceptance settled in, “because I think [the award] is also recognition for women and for people of colour. It’s an unusual award because I don’t think they’ve ever done this before, so it’s really an honour. It’s humbling.”
During her acceptance speech, Isaacs highlighted the need for inclusivity in the sector – a goal often talked about but never actioned.
“Inclusivity is talked about very easily. But doing it? It’s not done often.”Agri-Expo Honorary Award winner Joyene Isaacs
She feels it warrants a hard look in the mirror by the industry.
Having worked in agriculture for over two decades, Isaacs is passionate about the sector. She was raised in agriculture, studied it and credits it for her success. “It’s a passion because I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for agriculture. One needs to remember your roots, but you also need to say, ‘What do we do to build?’ That’s my job!”
To aspiring farmers and agriculturalists, Isaacs has the following advice: “Agriculture is important. Your role in it is important. And you need to create a network around you so that you can get the right information, at the right time, for the right reasons, so that you can expand agriculture and get the young people involved because we need to look after our future.”
Other podcast highlights
The best agriculture news podcast on the planet also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week:
- Sunflower farming 101: Sunflowers are not just pretty and decorative. As the third biggest crop in the country, they contribute hugely to the agri sector. Seasoned farmers Happy Letsitsa and Herman Janse van Rensburg give us some tips on how to manage the crop.
- Agri-Expo birthday celebration: Agri-expo recently celebrated its 190th anniversary with a glitzy awards ceremony.
- Farms, food and future: Plant health is an incredibly important topic for farmers. Andermatt Madumbi’s platform lead for business development (commercial agriculture), Sias Leipoldt, encourages farmers to take a holistic approach to pest control.
- Agripreneur 101: We chat to Patricia Manicom, co-owner of the farm Owl’s Rest in Robertson in the Western Cape, to give us some agro-processing insight. Along with her husband Hedley, she makes everything from cordials to preserves to hand sanitiser, using produce grown on their farm.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is The Resilient Farmer, by Doug Avery.
- Farmer’s tip of the week: Agri Western Cape and Santam Agriculture’s 2021 Young Farmer of the Year finalist Jo-andra Gregory is back with some solid poultry farming tips.
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