The beautiful venue, Landtscap in the Stellenbosch Winelands set the scene for an outstanding event when it hosted the 2023 Agricultural Writers SA Awards on 17 November 2022. The breath-taking view could however not outshine the excellence celebrated at this event.
The awards pay homage to distinction in agriculture as it recognises top agricultural role-players that invest their energy towards promoting sustainable farming enterprises, elevating food security, supporting rural economies, and nurturing the image of agriculture in South Africa. It also recognises excellence in agricultural journalism writing among the members of Agricultural Writers SA (AWSA).
Excellence in Agriculture
The AWSA awards celebrates provincial candidates in the three competition categories and, at the prestigious awards function, announces national winners in each of these categories.
Dewald te Water from Bethal was announced as the 2023 AWSA National Farmer of the year. He was joined on stage by Sophy Musabeni as the 2023 New Entrant to Agriculture and Dr Dirk Troskie as 2023 Agriculturist of the Year.
“For me agriculture equals grace and gratitude,” Te Water’s said as he accepted the award. He expressed his gratitude to his family for understanding his passion for agriculture, to his entire team for his hard work and to his Heavenly Father for abundant grace.”
Since that first Agricultural Writers SA awards ceremony in 1977, the event has contributed to showcasing farmers, the role of agricultural services and later also the importance of new entrants to commercial farming. “We are proud to still recognise the important role of the agricultural sector and to acknowledge excellence in the industry,” said Liza Bohlmann, Chairperson of Agricultural Writers SA.
“During the ceremony we not only celebrate the achievements and ambassador’s role of the award recipients, but also everyone else in the business who contribute to protecting South Africa’s agricultural industry as a beacon of hope. We are therefore also elated by the level of entries into our various member competitions. Members of the agricultural media commit themselves daily to convey the facts and stories of agriculture with their audiences. The more people understand how wonderful and important agriculture is, the better for garnering support for the industry. Congratulations and well done to each of the competition winners and award recipients.”
The 2023 awards function was sponsored by Santam Agriculture as Platinum sponsor and FNB as Diamond sponsor. The Bronze sponsors are Syngenta and CropLife South Africa “With immense pride and excitement, we commemorate the 42nd annual Agricultural Writers SA Awards. Santam is honoured to play a pivotal role in bringing this event to life,” said Daniel Stevens, Head: Santam Agriculture – Crop Insurance.
“Our partnership with Agricultural Writers SA for this event has great significance as the AWSA awards remain steadfast in their commitment to upholding and elevating the importance of both quality agricultural journalism and sustainability in agriculture.”
“As Santam, we are particularly grateful for the opportunity to support this event and maintain a longstanding relationship with the organization. In agriculture, the role of insurance cannot be overstated. Santam firmly believes that insurance is not merely a protective measure but, more importantly, a collaborative partnership between the client and the insurer, with effective risk management at its core. Understanding the challenges faced by farmers, Santam stands as a dependable partner in safeguarding their hard-earned work. We deeply appreciate the immense contribution of our farmers to the South African economy. Their dedication and commitment to sustainable practices form the bedrock of our nation’s success.”
Dawie Maree, Head: Information and Marketing at FNB Agriculture, added that FNB Agriculture is proud to be involved in the Agricultural Writers SA’s annual national awards event. “The Farmer, New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture and Agriculturist of the Year awards are some of the longest running agricultural awards in the country and representative of all industries in the sector. It must be mentioned that this is not a competition, but rather awards for excellence in agriculture. One can just look at previous winners to see the excellence of the farmers and agriculturists who received this award in the past.”
“The aim of awards in agriculture should be to improve the industry. There will be no advantage if our fellow farmers cannot learn something from the winners, and knowing our successful farmers, they are always willing to share information because they know they cannot be successful if the industry is not growing and successful. Successful farming these days are closely linked to sustainable use of natural resources, risk mitigation, diversification and sound financial decision making. It is also here were the importance of our agricultural journalists and publications come to the fore. Obviously not all farmers can visit the winners of awards across the country. Our journalists therefore have the task here to write the stories and give the facts to their readers. By doing that they not only disseminate valuable information and facts, but they also help build the image of the agricultural industry in the eye of the public,” Maree added.
“Hats off to the award winners in the agricultural industry over the past year. And compliments to the publications and journalists who carry these success stories. FNB, as an award-winning financial institution itself, are proud to be part of agriculture and to be associated with fellow award winners.”
The event was guided by the formidable Martelize Brink as master of ceremonies with Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, as keynote speaker. Winde celebrated the agricultural community as heroes of the economy and thanked both agricultural role-players and the media who tell their stories for what they do for South Africa. “Everyone in business knows that there are many risks, in agriculture there is an extensive list of industry-specific risks added on top of those typical business risks. Thank you for taking on these risks every day.”
Dr Dirk Troskie, Agriculturist of the Year, Sophy Musabeni Litshani New Entrant to Commercial Farming, and Dewald te Water, Farmer of the year.
Excellence in Agricultural Journalism
An important purpose of the AWSA is to celebrate excellence in agricultural journalism. Several competitions, supported by valuable sponsors, are hosted to recognise quality journalism and other media activities across all media types.
One of the highlights is the FNB Communicator of the year competition. Through this competition FNB wishes to highlight the importance of quality agricultural journalism in South Africa. “With this award we would like to honour the efforts of members of the Agricultural Writers SA who excel at communicating important and riveting information about the agricultural sector. Although the audience may be the primary agricultural sector, related industries in the sector or the value chain is equally important,” Maree explained.
Journalists can enter in three categories. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize.
The BKB Photo Competition aims to reward excellence in agricultural photography. A field with often difficult subjects to photograph. The emphasis of the competition if on the communication value of photos and the photographic skill and versatilittyy of the photographer, BKB has been the sponsor of this competition for more than 23 years. The spoils went to: Agricultural Photographer of the Year: Dewald Kirsten, Agricultural Photo of the Year: Dewald Kirsten
The 2023 winners in the categories were:
- Print: Magda du Toit
- Digital: Mbali Nwako
- Broadcast: Ronelle Louwrens
The CropLife South Africa article awards aims to reward responsible reporting on specifically crop protection and plant biotechnology topics. Elriza Theron of CropLife South Africa emphasises that responsible communication about these technologies is our collective duty. “Our farmers need access to the necessary tools to produce enough food in the face of various challenges, and we must work together to ensure these tools are produced, used, and communicated about responsibly. The media has a critical role to play in informing people about this responsibility.”
FNB Communicator of the year writers’ competition. Journalists can enter in three categories. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize. The 2023 winners in the categories were: Print: Magda du Toit
The winners of the respective categories are:
CropLife SA Crop Protection Article Award: Magda du Toit
CropLife SA Biotechnology Article Award: Engela Duvenhage
The BKB Photo Competition aims to reward excellence in agricultural photography. A field with often difficult subjects to photograph. The emphasis of the competition if on the communication value of photos and the photographic skill and versatilittyy of the photographer, BKB has been the sponsor of this competition for more than 23 years.
FNB Communicator of the year writers’ competition. Journalists can enter in three categories. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize. The 2023 winners in the categories were: Broadcast: Ronelle Louwrens
The spoils went to:
Agricultural Photographer of the Year: Dewald Kirsten
Agricultural Photo of the Year: Dewald Kirsten
Charl van Rooyen was honoured as the Honorary Life President of the Agricultural Writers SA during the Agricultural Writers SA’s Awards event on Friday evening. Charl joined the Agricultural Writers SA and throughout the years never shied away from commitment. Charl was elected the national chairperson of the Agricultural Writers SA in 1996 and again from 2000-2005. He also served as chairperson on the executives of Agricultural Writers Northern, Central and Northern Cape regions. Charl has been serving in different capacities on several committees and sub-committees of the Agricultural Writers SA uninterrupted for more than 3 decades.
Source: Agricultural Writers SA