AFASA kick-starts women’s month by recognising female agribusiness pioneers

Media release

01 August 2017

AFASA kick-starts women’s month by recognising female agribusiness pioneers

His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma together with AFASA President, Dr Vuyo Mahlati, presented three female agribusiness leaders, who are pioneers in their industries, with the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa’s (AFASA) Presidential Agribusiness Awards at the recent AFASA Agribusiness Transformation Conference.  The three awardees were recognised for their outstanding contribution in the sector during the AFASA Agribusiness Transformation Conference gala dinner at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg.

The Centane/Mbashe Agricultural Initiative was established in 2012/13 with assistance from Wiphold, a black women-owned investment company focusing on acquiring and building strategic investments in mining and agricultural sectors. The initiative focuses on the development of commercial models for the profitable and sustainable farming of communally owned land. The project is a commercial model designed to have high social impact, with particular emphasis on income generation and food security for participating communities.

Whilst in its early stages, the Initiative is already having a noticeable socio-economic impact. After three seasons, over R18 million has been distributed to the community shareholders by way of land use fee and dividend distributions.

Pheli Wines Pty Ltd is 100% black female owned wine producing company established in the Pretoria west township, Atteridgeville. The company does not have a farm, but was established as a venture in line with Wines of South Africa’s (WOSA) mandate of promoting the value growth for South African wine industry locally and abroad.

Pheli Wines produces two wines, 2014 Black Rock Syrah and the 2016 Oudstad Sauvignon Blanc, both named after the two oldest sections in Atteridgeville and Saulsville, Phelindaba. These were produced under the mentorship of Stellenbosch Vineyards, with Ms Moyahabo as the winemaker of the project. The 2016 Oudstad Sauvignon Blanc won BRONZE MEDAL in an international Wine Competition VINORO in Madrid SPAIN in May 2017.

Ms. Bongiwe Nomandi Njobe, who has over 30 years’ experience of working in the agricultural sector, was awarded for her sterling work in agriculture and agribusiness development. Ms Njobe initiated and led the Broadening Access to Agriculture Trust (BATAT), which focused on addressing the opportunities for transformation of the Agricultural Sector between 1994 and 1995. She was the Director General at South Africa’s National Department of Agriculture (1997 – 2004), responsible for the development of agricultural policy, related legislation, the implementation of national agricultural development programs and oversight of several public entities such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Ondersterport Biological Products (OBP) and the Land Bank.

Following her term in government, Ms Njobe continued to contribute to South African Agriculture. Between 2004 and 2013 she served as Corporate Affairs director at the SABMiller subsidiary South African Breweries Ltd where she was responsible for developing the black farmer supplier development programme as well as contributing to the corporate sustainability strategy. She also worked as Group Executive: Corporate Sustainability at Tiger Brands Limited, where she also served on its board as well as a Director of Langerberg and Ashton Foods (a subsidiary). In that period, she was responsible for the conceptualisation and establishment the Tiger Brands Foundation – School Breakfast Feeding Programme.

Dr Vuyo Mahlati said it was fitting to kick start August, as the month celebrating women, by awarding women who’ve done so well in spite of challenges facing emerging black agribusiness owners, especially women. “Black agribusiness faces a lot of challenges, which are related to, among other things, access to markets, finance and a lack of relevant skills. Hence the initiative to host the AFASA Agribusiness Transformation Conference which have focused on coming up with a collaborative approach on transformation to create a viable and inclusive commercial farming sector and agribusinesses,” said Dr Mahlati.   




Mr Aggrey Mahanjana

Secretary General

African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA)

Tel: +27 (0)12 492 1383

Cell: +27 (0)82 556 7297