Francois Cilliers from Willow Creek Olive Estate, Nuy Valley, Breede Valley region was announced as the 2019 Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards winner. This is the first winner from the Breede Valley region, making it an exceptionally special award not just for Francois but also for this region.
Recognition of hard work and dedication
The Prestige Agri Awards recognises the hard work, commitment and dedication of the province’s agricultural workforce. The overall winners of the competition form part of the Western Cape Prestige Agri Worker Forum that meets with the minister of agriculture on a quarterly basis. The forum provides a platform for the sharing of information regarding good farming practices, identifying opportunities and improving productivity.
Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer said: “The Prestige Agri Awards not only showcases the excellent work being done in the agricultural sector in this province but also inspires pride in its agri workers encourages them to learn new skills and creates positive perceptions around agricultural work. Shoprite can certainly be proud of their sponsorship of a competition that has had such a significant impact on the lives of agri workers.”
“Agri workers play a significant role in the Western Cape economy. Their energy, knowledge and expertise drive food security, bring foreign exchange into the country from exports, and enable them to provide for their families. My sincere congratulations to all the participants, finalists and winners,” he continued.
Agri workers are a key resource
A total of 1 393 agricultural employees from across 16 regions entered the competition this year. Regional winners were chosen in Piket-Bo-Berg, Durbanville, Stellenbosch, Central Karoo, Berg River, Franschhoek, Breede Valley, Swartland, Overberg, Langeberg, the Garden Route, Olifantsrivier, Hex River Valley, Klein Karoo Region, Elgin, Grabouw, Vyeboom, the Villiersdorp region and Witzenberg.
As the overall winner, Francois won prizes to the value of approximately R100 000, which includes an overseas study tour.
When asked about his awards, Francois emphasised: “Agriculture creates opportunities; just believe in what you want to be and you can determine how you want your life to pan out. Always ask questions, look up to people that have potential and take ownership of your road to success”.
“Agri workers are a key resource for this sector and I salute the hardworking men and women who contribute to a better agricultural landscape,” said Meyer.
The inception of the competition
Elsa Jordaan, CEO of Hex Valley Table Grape Association, started the competition in the Hex River Valley region in 2002. What started off as 36 participants soon grew from strength to strength with more than 13 000 entries received since. In 2005 the Western Cape Department of Agriculture saw an opportunity to expand the competition to a provincial level and since 2012 has partnered with Shoprite. – Press release, Western Cape Government.