The future of farming

3 min read 14 September 2021

Last year the UN reported that between 720 and 811 million people went hungry globally and just this year the Daily Maverick found that millions of South Africans were going hungry every day. Statistics like that highlight just how imperative it is that our country cultivates new generations of farmers who will keep the nation’s breadbasket filled. In service of that goal, the Young Farmers Competition in partnership with Santam, is proud to announce José Goncalves as the 2021 Gauteng Young Farmer of the Year.

“I feel very honoured to receive this award. We are the farmers of the future and have to think innovatively to apply modern solutions to affordable food production in this country,” said Goncalves.

The Young Farmers Competition provides a platform for farmers under the age of 35 to hone their skills by exposing them to a range of cutting-edge methodologies. It also gives them a space to network with other farmers and share their challenges, creativity, and successes with one another. For example, Goncalves is leaning on his actuarial background to measure his yield by square metre, instead of by hectare, as is traditional. It’s sharing small innovations like these that makes a difference.

Santam’s involvement in the Young Farmer’s Competition stretches back a decade and was borne out of a desire to meaningfully contribute to the future of this country.

“We need young farmers for the survival of a healthy agricultural industry in South Africa. We have a significant responsibility to contribute to a positive environment for young farmers and foster agricultural business in this country,” says Hanlie Kroese, Segment Solutions Agri at Santam.

By competing in the Young Farmers Competition, participants get the opportunity to grapple with contemporary agricultural challenges like mechanisation, technology, and the latest local and international marketing opportunities.

“Our involvement with the Young Farmer of the Year competition is our contribution to the promotion of high standards in farming practices. South Africa is one of the world’s foremost leaders in agriculture and we’re proud to partner with farmers to provide insurance, good and proper. Our farmers play an irreplaceable role in this country, and we’re dedicated to helping foster the next generation. We congratulate Jose on winning this year’s award. His commitment to his craft is evident and gives us a great deal of hope in the future of this country. It’s wonderful to see new technologies and methods being embraced. There’s a creativity in this space which is exciting to watch,” concludes, Kroese.