Phenias Gumede in his cotton fields.

The deputy president of Agri SA, Phenias Gumede, was elected vice-chairperson of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU). SACAU is a farmer’s organisation that acts as the voice of farmers on regional, continental, and global matters. It ensures that strong and effective farmers’ organisations are in place in all Southern African countries.

Gumede is also the president of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu). In addition to these appointments he also serves in other organisations. He is the deputy chairperson of Cotton SA and the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Cotton Growers’ Association.

Gumede is a farmer who farms cotton and other crops, as well as livestock, in KwaZulu-Natal. “From 1998 to date, I have worked alongside farmers of all sizes, genders and races, including the youth, to promote the establishment of one agricultural sector in the country,” he says.

He is the owner and managing director of a cotton processing facility. “I have established an outgrower scheme where all emerging farmers produce their cotton at a commercial level and have access to offtake markets for their produce,” says Gumede. Before Gumede started his farming enterprise he worked for various state-owned entities and other organisations as a bookkeeper and farmer liaison officer. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit