The Western Cape minister of agriculture, Ivan Meyer, has officially launched the 2019 Prestige Agri Awards. This year marks the eighth year that the Department of Agriculture has partnered with supermarket giant, Shoprite, to sponsor the awards.

The competition acknowledges agri workers across eleven categories and in 16 districts for the important and valuable contribution that they make towards the sustainability and growth of the agricultural sector within the Western Cape. The awards were originally started in 2002 by the Hex River Valley Association. Since then, over 12 000 agricultural workers have participated.

A tribute to farmworkers

Speaking at the launch of the awards, minister Meyer paid tribute to those who worked hard to ensure that the province’s agricultural industry continued to be one of the biggest economic and job creation sectors in the province.

“Farm workers play a significant role in the Western Cape economy and in agricultural production. They put so much of their energy into ensuring that there is food security, that there is foreign exchange coming into the country from exports, and that they can provide for their families,” he said.

Listen to the minister’s full statement.

An independent study into the impact of the awards conducted in 2015 found that the awards inspired pride in agricultural workers, encouraged them to learn new skills and created positive perceptions around agricultural work.

A life changing experience

Last year’s winner, Isaac Ntoto, said that winning last year’s award resulted in a life changing experience for him. He traveled to the Netherlands and Germany as part of his prize, where he was exposed to agri-logistic practices in those countries.

Winners of the regional awards will receive a cash prize, a certificate and trophy, and Shoprite vouchers. They will also go on to compete at the provincial awards to be held in November, where the overall agri-worker of the year will be selected.

The overall winner walks away with a R25 000 cash prize, an overseas trip valued at R60 000, an IPad, Shoprite vouchers, data and a place on the prestige agri-worker board which meets with minister Meyer each quarter to discuss issues in the sector. – Press release, Western Cape Government