2021 Winners of Agricultural Writers SA Awards

  • 19 November 2021
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Speaking at the event, held at Cavalli Estate near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, Liza Bohlmann, chairperson of the Agricultural Writers SA (AWSA), said that celebrating excellence in the agricultural industry is vital. “Recognising the efforts of those who produce food, feed and fibre is one aspect of the awards. We also look deeper into how they conduct their business, their rate of efficiency and on what level they contribute on a wider scale to improve the lives of others. The award winners are hardworking people, achieving extraordinary levels of excellence. They show leadership amidst challenging climatic and market conditions, are innovators, bridge builders and change makers.”

Proud to be celebrating excellence in agriculture, Dr Klaus Eckstein, CEO of Bayer Southern Africa, noted that challenging conditions in agriculture called for closer collaboration between farmers, agriculturalists and agricultural media. “The key focus here is collaboration, to ensure that the technologies we develop to support farmers are accessible, understandable and that we can ultimately fulfil our goal of health for all and hunger for none.”

Recognising the resilience of the sector, Dawie Maree, head of information and marketing at FNB Business, Agriculture, noted that agriculture had kept the economy afloat over the last two years. “Every farmer and agriculturalist, big or small deserves to be honoured. Those that have been awarded tonight are representative of them all. FNB would like to thank each and every one of our producers and wish them all the best for the way forward.”

Hanlie Kroese, business development manager at Santam, related that considering their 103 years in insurance, they had learnt a great deal about farming in South Africa, and how to make it a success. “Whoever said that you reap what you sow, couldn’t have been more right. The hard work you put in, the partners you choose and the research you do – this is what determines next year’s harvest. Farmers do so much than just farm these days, that’s why we are pleased to be associated with the AWSA Farmer of the Year awards that rewards high calibre, South African farmers for their hard work, and their contributions to the industry.”

Bianca Viljoen, director of marketing, distribution and rewards, said that the agricultural market has always been very close to their hearts and they have continuously supported initiatives that celebrate this vibrant industry and the vital role it plays in our economy. “Of course, this means that the Agricultural Writers SA National Awards is high on our list, and it’s an absolute honour to be one of the event’s main sponsors. On behalf of Health Squared and Agility Agri, we would like to extend our congratulations to not only the winners, but each of the nominees, for their above-and-beyond commitment and passion for their trade”

The winners

Jan le Roux – Agricultural Writers SA Farmer of the Year

The Le Roux Group encompasses 654 hectares of table grapes and 192 hectares of prunes and nectarines. The Broodkraal farm is the biggest single table grape unit in the Southern Hemisphere, of which all production is under shade netting.

The Le Roux Group’s export company, LeRoux Fruit Exporters, exports more than 3,2 million cartons of grapes, nectarines and prunes each year. Markets include the EU, UK, US and the Far and Middle East.

Farming methods enhance sustainability on all levels, which includes the welfare of the surrounding community. The business employs 6200 workers and through the worker’s trust, employees own a 32% share in Broodkraal.

Le Roux serves on many a committee and played a crucial role in the deregulating of the agricultural markets in the 1990s. His ‘thinking out of the box’ attitude has stood him in good stead and he is well known for believing in the impossible and making it a reality.

Agmat Brinkhuis – Agricultural Writers SA New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture

Some empowerment projects are loudly announced but die a quiet death. Chamomile-Boerdery has however stood the test of time and is testament to the success that can be achieved through hard work.

Chamomile-Boerdery in Philippi near Cape Town is owned by Agmat Brinkhuis and his wife, Wadea Jappie. Their sons Tawfeeq and Nabeel Brinkhuis are also involved on the farm. They produce herbs, vegetables, and eggs.

Agmat was the first black chairperson of the South African Poultry Association in 2017, while Wadea was crowned the Western Cape’s Department of Agriculture’s Female Farmer of the Year in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

Prof Gareth Bath – Agricultural Writers SA Agriculturalist of the Year

Prof Gareth Bath has made consistent contributions to his profession through the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) over the years. Nationally, he has acted as consultant or advisor to the SA Wool Board, National Wool Growers’ Association (NWGA), Red Meat Producers’ Organisation, RPO), and the Red Meat Research and Development Trust (RMRDT), guiding policies and the funding of research.

Internationally, he guided the establishment of the International Sheep Veterinary Association, wrote its constitution and served as its first president. He is a co-developer of the internationally acclaimed FAMACHA system of identifying animals for selective treatment, adding to it his Five Point Check and Big Five methods for sustainable parasite control.

A Special Award for his contribution to agriculture was given to Chris du Toit, honorary president of Agri SA.

Journalist and communicator awards

During the event members of the Agricultural Writers SA were honoured for their role in communicating issues of interest to the agricultural sector and aiding in responsible communication of the sector.

Awarding the Bayer Technical article award, Eckstein said that communicating technical messages succinctly to farmers was key to ensuring accurate messages were brought across that could aid the farming sector. “Bayer invests 12% of our global turnover into science, technology and value back on the farm. This is why we prioritise the promotion of youth in agriculture, educating our farmers on the best farming methods and a future generation of agricultural writers that can relay these important messages. Today we honour our farmer and journalist award winners; this is testimony to your commitment to enhancing food security.”

Maree noted that this is the third year which the FNB Communicator Award has been running and the competition keeps getting tougher. “This just shows how passionate agricultural journalists are about their work and this special industry of ours.

“In our world, there are no small parts. Every contribution pools to build future success. That’s how we achieve long-term results and outperform the rest. Thank you to each and every communicator who values this industry and through your reliable and responsible communication helps build the human business for a better agricultural industry in our special country.”

The winners of the respective categories are:

  • CropLife SA Crop Protection Article Award:
    Elise-Marie Steenkamp
  • CropLife SA Biotechnology Article Award:
    Lindi Botha
  • NB Communicator of the Year Award:
    Print Category: Lindi Botha
    TV & Audio: Liezel de Villiers
    Social Media & Online: Clayton Swart
  • BKB Photo Competition:
    Agricultural Photographer of the Year: Willem van der Berg
    Agricultural Photo of the Year: Willem van der Berg
  • Bayer Technical Article Award:
     Charl van Rooyen
    Dirk Strydom and Marion Delport
    Charl van Rooyen

 


“Die donderweer staan nader” – by Willem van der Berg is this year’s photo of the year.