Saturday, September 30, 2023

Toyota/Kwanalu Young Farmer of the Year 2022 announced

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, has proudly announced that North Coast macadamia and banana farmer, Tammy Williams, is the 2022 KZN Toyota/Kwanalu Young Farmer of the Year.

Williams impressed judges with her determination in learning from the ground up to master many technical aspects of farming, implementing environmentally conscious applications and driving community upliftment.

Williams will go on to represent Kwanalu and KZN farmers in the Toyota SA/Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year Competition 2022, which will take place later this year. During the final, she will compete against top farmers from the other eight provinces in an effort to secure the sought-after title, as well as a brand-new Toyota Hilux single cab bakkie.

“Every year, we are astounded at the extremely high standard of our young farmers. This is a testament to the passion, determination, and excellence of agriculture in our province. Their resilience, commitment, and optimism in both the industry and our country are truly inspiring,” said CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque.

Read about a young female livestock farmer.

The Toyota Kwanalu Young Farmer of the Year 2022 competition was open to farmers under the age of 40, male or female, who are members of their province’s agricultural unions. The judging and evaluation of the farmers and their agricultural practices take place at provincial level with the applicants being evaluated on all aspects of their business, including their overall vision for the future of their farming operations.

Entrants are judged on their management and business philosophies, as well as the technical competence with which their philosophy is applied.

Perseverance pays off for young farmer

With no prior farming experience, Williams started out as a receptionist at Windermere Estate Farm near King Shaka International Airport 12 years ago. She took an interest in farming and showed a willingness to learn and her potential was recognised. Consequently, she was promoted to manage a section of the banana farm operations.

Rising to each challenge over the years, Williams took over the production and management of several banana farms totalling 120ha and in 2013, she expanded to macadamia production. Since then, they have grown their macadamia operations to 150ha.

“Having been involved in both the technical and administrative aspects of farming, I have learned that the two go hand in hand in keeping a farming operation efficient and, as a result, a lot of money can be saved when these elements are not viewed as separate,” says Williams.

Striving towards areas of improvement, she has her sights set on fine-tuning their macadamia and banana operations to increase profitability for the business in the future.

Read more about the 2022 Toyota New Harvest winner here.

“The quality of the macadamia nuts produced on our farm will be what sets us apart in future. We have been getting closer to understanding how to do this by trying out new techniques, while also calibrating the ideal conditions for a superior end product.”

Williams is enthusiastic about conservation and is always looking for new ways to minimise the use of insecticides and herbicides.

“I am an avid bee lover and have introduced bee basil and other vegetation to attract good insects for the farm. I also make sure we conserve the natural bush and waterways to take care of the sensitive ecosystems on the farm,” she adds.

Williams believes that anyone with a willingness to work hard and to learn can achieve their heart’s desire.

“I am not from a farming background, but through opportunity and perseverance, I have found a passion for agriculture. We provide opportunities for our staff to extend themselves into new areas, just as I have been afforded. Watching their growth and passion for farming develop and enabling them to provide for their families, is extremely gratifying.” – Press release, Kwanalu

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