Announcing Nuffield International’s First South African Scholar
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 – The International Agri-food Network in partnership with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), the Young Professionals for Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD) and others are spearheading a Call to Action document for talent development in agriculture titled Growing Ambitions for Agricultural Professionals.
In consideration of this call to action the Private Sector Mechanism (PMS) secretariat made of series of introductions in 2015 at CFS 42 between Ms Hlami Ngwenya and representatives of Nuffield International that has led to the establishment of an annual farmer-to-farmer exchange day in Pretoria, South Africa.
Each year Nuffield awards approximately 70 individuals from around the world a scholarship which enables them to travel internationally to study a research topic of their choosing related to agriculture, agribusiness or agri-policy. A significant component of a Nuffield Scholarship is participation in a Global Focus Program (GFP) which consists of 6-7 weeks of intensive travel to 6-8 countries in the northern and southern hemispheres and across the developed and developing world studying all aspects of agricultural practices, food security and agribusiness. Nuffield’s GFP program presently visits in excess of 35 nations and for the past three years has included South Africa in one of its programs.
As a result of the PSM secretariats foresight Ms Ngwenya and Nuffield were able to organise an inaugural farmer-to-farmer exchange event outside Pretoria in April 2016. The event was attended by one of Nuffield’s GFP groups consisting of 8 scholars representing 6 countries, approximately 30 emerging South African farmers and was facilitated by Ms Ngwenya.
It was a diverse and youthful group from multiple production and business sectors all active in the agri-food space. Throughout the course of the day each individual took the stage and brilliantly articulated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they presently experienced as young farmers or agribusiness professionals. Furthermore a number of people projected an incredible vision for what they saw as the future of agricultural and economic development in Africa. Many of the Nuffield Scholars in attendance agreed that it was the most energetic and inspiring day of their entire 6 week GFP.
Resulting largely from this Nuffield International is incredibly delighted to announce that it has selected its first South African Farming Scholar, Ms Thato Moagi.
Ms Moagi aged 25, a farmer in Limpopo Province, was recently chosen as the successful candidate for a Nuffield International Farming Scholarship, which will enable her to travel overseas to broaden her knowledge of agriculture.
Ms Moagi, who is Managing Director of Legae La Banareng Farms near Modimolle, was unanimously approved by Nuffield International’s selection panel.
Ms Moagi has chosen as her study topic: “Exploring Integrated Beef Production Models”. Whilst beef production is a very small part of her own farm, she says that it has great potential in her region of the Limpopo.
“The area is highly suited to beef farming, and is well-connected to markets”.
“My aim is to develop Legae La Banareng Farms into a mega farm that will demonstrate the livestock and crop integrated model that I intend to research and develop during the Nuffield experience.”
Her vision is to generate a ‘hub and spoke’ model, which will have the potential to benefit many emerging farmers in her region and act as a model for inspiration amongst other emerging farmers in South Africa.
Ms Moagi is only one of seven people in the world to be awarded a Nuffield International Scholarship, which are awarded to individuals in countries where Nuffield does not have a Trust in operation. The previous recipients (in 2015 and 2016) are Brazilians.
Chairman of Scholar selection panel, Canadian farmer Kelvin Meadows – a 2011 Nuffield Scholar – says:
“Thato left all of us on the selection panel in no doubt that she is a first-rate candidate for a Nuffield Scholarship. She demonstrated maturity well beyond her years and impressed us with her ambition for both the development of her own farm, and her career beyond the farm looking further ahead.”
Chief Executive Officer of Nuffield International Jim Geltch added:
“We at Nuffield are very excited that our ambition to appoint a South African Scholar has become a reality”.
“Nuffield Scholars have been including this amazing country on their own travels for many years and from their reporting back it’s been clear for a long time of the innovation and energy in farming here, so for some time we have wanted to bring its farmers into our global network of Nuffield Farming Scholars” said Mr Geltch.
“For the past three years, we have included South Africa in the Global Focus Program and through this we have made some good friends within the country who have been a huge help in finding local sponsorship and potential candidates for a South African Nuffield Scholarship.”
Ms Moagi’s Scholarship is funded by sponsorship from Northern Star SC Trading Company (Pty) Ltd. CEO Shaun Cawood expressed his delight in Nuffield’s decision to award a Scholarship to Ms Moagi; “Half of me is a businessman who works to make a profit, and half of me is an African who grew up in the veld and sees the potential of the rural districts and the potential to change the lives of people in the rural communities. Thato has the vision and drive to make that a reality. The Nuffield Scholarship will add breadth and depth to help her achieve her goals.”
Ms Moagi will commence her Nuffield Scholarship in 2017, starting with attending the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC), which this year will take place in Brazil in March.
Immediately after the Conference, she will embark on a Global Focus Program (GFP), which is a 6-7-week intensive program of travel for groups of around ten fellow Nuffield Scholars of diverse nationalities and agricultural professions. The GFP provides insight into farming policy and practice within the six to eight countries visited by the group, and is considered by Nuffield International to provide a valuable experience in the personal development of the Scholars – many of whom hitherto have had scarce opportunity to be absent from their farm/workplace.
On completion of the GFP, Ms Moagi will then finalise her own program of travel to study her chosen topic; for this she will travel for several months to countries to meet and interview farmers, researchers and technical experts.
The final leg of her Nuffield year will be to present her findings at the Nuffield International Conference and regional agricultural forums within her community with the final component of her scholarship being the submission of a written report on her topic.
As well as using their newly acquired knowledge to develop their own businesses, Nuffield Scholars are also encouraged to share with fellow agricultural professionals the knowledge they have acquired through presenting their findings at local conferences, engaging within national and international policy forums and contributing articles to relevant publications.
Ms Moagi will be joined by 2016 CFS and PSM delegate, Ms Kathryn Stack formerly of Europeche in Brussels who has become Nuffield Internationals first scholar from the European fishing industry.
Nuffield International would like to thank Robynne Anderson, Hlami Ngwenya and the entire secretariat staff of the PSM, IAFN and Emerging Ag. for making Ms Moagi’s scholarship a reality.
– ENDS –
Photo: Thato Moagi, 2017 Nuffield International Farming Scholar.
A high-resolution image is available on request.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Vision: To develop people to make a difference in the world of agriculture.
Nuffield International is a body which encompasses all Nuffield Farming Scholarship organisations around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and associate countries Brazil and USA. It provides guidance and support to member countries which manage their individual agricultural scholarship programs. It is a not for profit organisation administered professionally but supported by voluntary contributions made by its member countries.
Ms. Moagi’s Abbreviated CV:
- Tertiary education: BSc Plant Science, University of Pretoria. Graduated 2013.
- Legae La Banareng Farms: Mixed farm, primarily focused on producing grains (yellow and white maize) and vegetables – principally supplying local markets, including Pick n’ Pay and Spar.
- Thato is MD and principal shareholder, responsible for daily operations.
- She also derives an income stream through consulting and training services.
- She is secretary of Waterberg Women Farmers Association, and a member of the African Farmers Association of South Africa, and Bosveld Dorper Club.
For further information relating to this media release, please contact:
Nuffield South Africa Media Contact
Ph: +27 (0) 721 255 009
Group photo (below):
Attendees of a farmer exchange day on the outskirts of Pretoria during the Nuffield Global Focus Program (GFP) in 2016. Ms Hiami Ngwenya (far right) was the primary organiser of the event. This event was set-up following introductions from the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) personnel during the 42nd UN Committee on World Food Security.