A province-wide campaign to celebrate residents working in the agriculture sector was launched in the Western Cape this month.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, officially launched the 2017 Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards at Elsenburg. The initiative is co-sponsored by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Shoprite.

Anton Alexander, an employee at Ouwerf Farm who works in Human Resources, and the overall winner of last year’s awards, attended the launch.

As part of his prize, Anton travelled to the Netherlands and Germany to attend agriculture conferences and to network with agri enterprises.

He described how the competition has changed his life: “It’s been quite an exciting year. I’ve been exposed to the marketing side of agriculture, and it’s been an eye-opener. It’s also showed me the importance of seeing the bigger picture in any workplace. As a result, when I complete inductions for new staff members now, I bring in all aspects of operations so that an employee has a deeper understanding of their role in the company, and can better understand how they contribute to the company’s success. This ultimately affects the markets your produce can reach.”

Anton, who is also currently completing his studies in Human Resource Management and Practices, said he’d like more young people to consider a career in agriculture.

“Agriculture creates job opportunities and we need to get more people involved.”

Offering advice to this year’s entrants, Anton said: “Broaden your knowledge about your job, and agriculture and the challenges in agriculture.”

Minister Winde said the awards were aimed at highlighting excellence in the agriculture sector.

“The agri professionals in this sector ensure that high-quality produce lands on our supermarket shelves, as well as in outlets abroad. Now more than ever, in the face of changing weather patterns and a rising population, we are turning to agriculture for solutions.

“This sector not only produces our food, it also generates domestic and foreign exchange for our economy, and creates jobs which sustain livelihoods. Through these awards, we’ll be honouring the hard work and dedication of our agri professionals.”

Dr Johan van Deventer, General Manager at Freshmark (Shoprite’s fruit and vegetable procurement and distribution arm) said they have been a proud sponsor of the competition for the past six years. “Agri workers are the reason we’re able to sell fresh, quality produce in our supermarkets on a daily basis. It is wonderful to support an initiative aimed at uplifting individuals who make such a significant contribution to South Africa’s economy.”

Between now and October, 16 regional competitions will take place.

A winner, runner-up and second runner-up will be selected in each of the following 11 categories:

  • General Worker
  • Tractor Driver
  • Administrative Personnel
  • Animal Production
  • Technical Operator
  • Irrigation Specialist
  • Social Development
  • Agri-processing
  • Foreman
  • Junior Management
  • Middle Management

The winner in each category and the overall winner in each region will go through to the provincial competition.

Since 2002, 9369 residents have entered the competition.

Please see attached a schedule of regional competitions.

For media queries, kindly contact:

Bronwynne Jooste
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town

Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301
Email: bronwynne.jooste@westerncape.gov.za
Website: www.elsenburg.com
Twitter: bronwynnejooste