If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.
— M. S. Swaminathan
UMNGA FARMERS GROUP
The Umnga Farmers Group, over the past 32 years, have made a tremendous contribution towards the development of emerging farmers and farming communities, especially in the disadvantaged districts of the former Transkei in the Eastern Cape Province.
The very first project which also related to the need for establishing the Umnga Farmers Group in 1988, was the Umga Flats Commercial Land Development, an area of almost 10 000 hectares in extent, which was allocated to 35 farmers of the former Transkei in 1986. The objective of this project was to develop the area as a commercial food basket to the former independent Republic.
Soon after the formation of a new South Africa in 1994, these 32 farmers were ordered to vacate their occupation of “the state land.” Umnga Farmers Group played a vital role in fighting this decision through court to keep the farmers on land. All farmers obtained legal ownership in 2002, and today, 32 years later, although some original owners are not with us anymore, the Umga Flats Commercial farming area is an up and running example of endurance through self-help.
We honour the example and leadership of the late Sipho Howard Booi and Linda Mbabama, co-founders and entrepreneurs, who has set the foundation of the Umnga Farmers Group. Since 1996, the Umnga Farmers Training Centre skilled and trained a total of 26 896 individuals in various agricultural related skills. Some of these beneficiaries are individual farmers, whilst most of them are part of community development projects. Most beneficiaries benefitted from special development funds raised by the Umnga Farmers Group to provide in crucial infrastructure and running capital.
Most of these projects focused on the production of pigs, poultry, irrigation schemes, home gardens, sheep shearing sheds and beef production ventures. Over the years, a total of more than 850 of these projects contributed to increased food security and household income to the recorded total of almost 27 000 people.
In 1993, the Umnga Farmers Group took a leap through the establishment of the St Augustine’s Community Development Programme, a holistic commercial production project funded by the European Commission and the National Development Agency. The success of this project has led to the establishment of 5 similar projects between 1994 and 2012, with a total budget value of R 18.7 Million.
In 1998, Umnga Farmers Group initiated the foundation of Agri-pedia, an ICT project known as the “Agri-pedia Business Intelligence Solution”. This application today hosts an accredited agricultural encyclopaedia, associated to an e-Learn platform, and agricultural Business Management System, all linked to the Agricultural Business Sector and other farmers through Social Media.
The success of the Agri-pedia platform highlighted the real need for industry-based e-Learn training in agriculture, and the International Agricultural Academy for Africa (i3A) was founded in 2015, with a current footprint of students in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
As a Section 21 non-profit organisation, the Umnga Farmers Group now focusses on fundraising to assist agricultural students within the SADC Countries with bursaries and funding to contribute to sustainable food security and sustainable land development as qualified farmers.
Our Board of Directors and management team have demonstrated integrity and endurance over the past 32 years, to responsibly manage all investment in the young farmers of Africa.
Johann founded the Umnga Farmers Training Group in 1989 with the vision to be an International Development Institution, committed to the development of agriculture of Africa. Over the past 31 years, he served as Managing Director to achieve the outcomes as reflected in the companies tracking record and profile.
Johann is an Agricultural Economist and commercial farmer with more than 30-years’ experience in the field of agricultural extension, training, and community development. The successful achievements of the Umnga Farmers Group are proof of his commitment towards changing the lives of disadvantaged farmers across Africa. Johann through the Umnga Farmers Group spearheaded the technology of the Agri-pedia platform as an internet-based information and E-learning system, leading to the establishment of the International Agricultural Academy for Africa.
Dr. Antonie Chrisstoffel Geyer
Antonie is a senior and well know agricultural economist with more than 38 years’ experience in the commercial agricultural Industry and Academic Institutions in South Africa. He specialises in agricultural economics and agrarian data warehousing, analysing production data and economic advisory services. Antonie is a commercial sheep and cattle farmer with specific experience in the wool and mohair industries.
Board member | Social Resilience
Rev. Albert Tsela Motsoikha
Albert is one of the original founding members of the Umnga Farmers Group, being part of the organisation for more than 30 years. As spiritual and religious leader, he made a huge contribution in the social and mental resilience of hundreds of individuals and project members. Albert is also a qualified agriculturist with much experience in project development.
Board member | Youth in Agriculture
Dr. Khanyisile Ncoyi
Khanyisile was born and raised in a real disadvantaged rural background in the Eastern Cape Province. He had to fight his way up in life and through hard work and determination qualified himself with a Ph.D. degree in agronomy and soil science. Khanyisile has a passionate heart to tell his story to many other young people struggling and being detained through poverty and hunger.
Board member | Women in Agriculture
Me Kgomotso Kgoshe
Kgomotso is dynamic young female and inspiring leader in her community, fighting for women rights. She is an agricultural diploma graduate who found an opportunity to sound her voice on her university's community radio. Kgomotso is an entrepreneur and academic content developer, designing practical agricultural programmes that is contributing to the education used in the SA Agricultural Schools programme.
Board member | Agricultural Training
Mr John Ntlhokoa
John is an experienced facilitator with 18-years of post-graduate experience in the facilitation of various agricultural learnerships and skills programmes. His field of specialisation lies within mixed farming enterprises and he has considerable experience in the planning and implementation of land reform projects under the Department of Agriculture and land Reform