Limpopo hosts Young Farmer of the Year Awards: By Samson Mabunda

Front row; first from left to right, Ms Thato Moagi’s Legae la Banareng Farms from Waterberg Limpopo Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio on Agriculture, Mr Masekoameng, MEC for Agriculture, Ms Joy Matshoge and Polokwane Municipal Speaker: Councillor Caiphus Mathiba Aspirant Young Farmer Awards at Polokwane Nature Reserve outside Mankweng on 15 June 2015.

Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (LDARD) hosted the annual Aspirant Young Farmer of the Year Awards at Polokwane Nature Reserve outside Mankweng on 15 June 2015. The event which is running for the 10th year recognises young farmers for their role in the Agricultural sector.

In her address, Limpopo MEC for Agriculture, Ms Joy Matshoge, urged the youth to participate actively in farming. In her view, meaningful youth’s contribution to the agribusiness would ensure food security, job creation and poverty eradication. She said it was inspiring to see the youth who are dedicated to the study and practice of Agriculture in the province.

She applauded the LDARD for the Awards dedicated to the empowerment of the youth. Matshoge said it fitted well with the vision of former ANC president Oliver Reginald Tambo who once said, “A nation that does not care for its youth has no future and does not deserve one.”

“Agriculture is doable. I am going to visit all the winners to see what we have seen [video clips of winners] here tonight. We will come to check your projects and see how we can assist you,” the MEC indicated.

Ms Thato Moagi’s Legae la Banareng Farms from Waterberg was crowned winner in the Top Producer for National/ Export Markets and received R150 000 cash, the highest prize of the night. Boikanyo Engelina also from Waterberg went to the bank smiling after scooping R80 000 cash prize as winner in the Top Producer for Informal Markets category, whereas the Top Producer for Household Consumption winner cash prize of R40 000 went to Nkateko Ishmael Baloyi from Mopani.

First runners-up in these categories received R120 000, R60 000 and R30 000 cash prizes, while second runners-up got R90 000, R45 000 and R20 000 cash prize respectively. Malebalong Primary School from Mopani walked away with R30 000 cash prize for being the best in the Best Primary School in Agriculture section and Moroathebe Secondary School from Sekhukhune received similar amount in the Top Secondary School in Agriculture category. First and second runners-up in the last the last two categories pocketed R20 000 and R15 000 cash prizes each.

As a gesture of appreciation of the Limpopo young farmers’ economic contribution and getting them more involved in Agricultural development forums, the MEC pledged that all winners should attend the forthcoming XIV World Forestry Conference. South Africa will host this International Conference at the Chief Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, from 7 to 11 September 2015.