It’s Christmas time again and 2019 is finally drawing to a close! While many of us are relaxing with our loved ones, let’s spare a thought for the farmers and agri-workers who not only provide our festive treats, but who feed us 365 days a year.
Food For Mzansi asked some of the extraordinary people in the agricultural sector we met this year to share their messages to their fellow agriculturists and the rest of Mzansi.
Eastern Cape farmer Siphesihle Tatenda says although 2019 has been a rollercoaster, she is grateful to have pulled through. This owner of Siphe Development and Capacitation Agency says farmers should hold their heads high knowing that they have overcome the storm.
“I’m blessed to have hard-working employees in my farming operation. I wish every farmer in South Africa a productive 2020. God bless you with the eternal joy and shower tons of happiness on you.”
While temperatures are sweltering and rain in many parts of the country remain absent, farmer Alfreda Mars of Moorreesburg in the Western Cape says farmers should “keep their chins up” despite battling against the harsh forces of nature. Mars laments that there is “no rest for the wicked” in farming.
She is the owner of a flourishing farm and continues to break the glass ceiling of the agricultural sector.
“Under all circumstances I just want to wish all farmers in South Africa a very prosperous Christmas and New Year and that we can go into 2020 with a positive mind,” says Mars.
The 30-year-old chicken farmer Kagelelo Matlala shares Mars’ sentiments. She says farming in the Northern Cape has been challenging, but in the words of our newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, she says she is ready to “take up space” in 2020.
“Drought was the main challenge we all experienced as a country. But from all of it, we farmers surely have learned that giving up is not an option because farming is our passion. In 2020 we are coming for everything.”
Agrico’s Alfred Andrag wished all farmers good fortune as they fight against nature’s forces. “I hope you get good rain and that your farming businesses go from strength to strength and especially the developmental farmers facing a lot of challenges. I wish you all the best of luck.”
Ian De Jager from the South Africa Irrigation Institute (SABI) wishes our farmers a fruitful festive season despite the many challenges they are plagued by.
“We are keeping you in our prayers, as SABI we wish you strength. We hope there will be plenty rain as you face the season’s drought. We trust next year will be a splendid year.”
The 37-year-old Buchule Jack, a crop farmer in Bothaville in the Free State, says the festive season is the busiest time for any crop farmer. “Farmers are tasked with producing the food that will be eaten by millions of people across the country and December, for most of us, means planting and harvesting.”
The founder of Amiline Farm explains that there is hardly rest for farmers, but making sure there is enough food to feed the nation is what is most important.
Although one of Mzansi’s youngest farmers, Thabo Dithakgwe (19), plans to sell goats, sheep and cattle for slaughter during the festive season he will take some time to conduct farm visits and spend weekends with his farming mentors to catch up. “I attend events made by farmers such as the Hats and Shades Jol,” Dithakgwe says jokingly.
- Food for Mzansi wishes all farmers and agricultural workers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We wish to express our thanks to all the unsung heroes in different parts of the country for providing the wholesome produce to sustain ourselves each day.