Awards boost agriculture

FOCUSED: Limpopo Aspirant Young Farmer of the year award winner Ackron Baloyi, 29, from Shiulani jvillage, near Giyani, is praised by MEC for local government and housing, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, during the awards function held at Oasis Lodge, Polokwane in Limpopo on Tuesday night. Pic. Nancy Molepo. 25/07/07. © Sowetan.
FOCUSED: Limpopo Aspirant Young Farmer of the year award winner Ackron Baloyi, 29, from Shiulani jvillage, near Giyani, is praised by MEC for local government and housing, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, during the awards function held at Oasis Lodge, Polokwane in Limpopo on Tuesday night. Pic. Nancy Molepo. 25/07/07. © Sowetan.

Khangale Makhado

Khangale Makhado

For the second-year running, Limpopo's department of agriculture this week acknowledged the role of youth within the sector when it hosted the yearly Aspirant Young Farmer of the Year Awards.

This year's awards were divided into three categories, household production, commercial production and the best school project.

Ackron Baloyi, 29, from rural Shivulani village, near Giyani, scooped the household production category for his back yard nursery activities.

Baloyi can now see his dream of owning and managing a proper nursery come true - thanks to the R20000 cash prize and a R60000 infrastructural support grant.

Baloyi first developed interest in the nursery business when he was still at school. This was after he started a small bed of spinach at his home. He later planted one or two mango trees and a peach tree - then there was no turning back.

Today Baloyi has employed four people. He provides garden services, plants flowers, indoor pot plants and indigenous trees.

Brett Gosling won the commercial production category award for his grape-farming business in Witpenskloof, Sekhukhune.

Gosling started his business on an 1,8 hectare piece of land in 2001. It has now expanded to 25,7ha and produces between 3000 and 4000 boxes of grapes.

He said his business could not have been where it is today had it not been for his employees.

He said the prize money of R30000 would go to them. In the best school project category, the award went to Settlers Agricultural High School. The project started in 1965. The school now owns a 100ha piece of dry land and two hydroponic tunnels. R30000 would go to them.

In the best school project category, the award went to Settlers Agricultural High School. The project started in 1965.

The school now owns a 100ha piece of dry land and two hydroponic tunnels.

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