If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.

— M. S. Swaminathan



The Umnga Farmers Group, over the past 35 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 1989, 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 48 963 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 with an e-Learn platform, and an 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. I3A further developed an ecosystem of industry and enterprise specialist academies in the fields of Sheep and Wool Production, Beef Cattle Production, Dairy Cattle and Milk Production, Goat Production, Agronomy and Horticulture, Poultry Production, Pig Production, and an extensive qualification in Animal Health in collaboration with MSD Animal Health. 

As a Section 21 non-profit company, the Umnga Farmers Group now focuses 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 three decades, to ethically and responsibly manage all investments in the young farmers of Africa.

Historical photo of the Umnga Farmers Training Centre, Kincardine Farm, Ugie, Eastern Cape (1989 – 2012)

Historical Photo of the Umnga Head Office, 32 Umnga Road, Ugie, Eastern Cape. (1989 – 2012)



Managing Director / Founder

Johann Stassen

Johann is an agricultural economist and commercial farmer with more than 40 years of experience in agricultural training and development. Johann founded the Umnga Farmers Training Group in 1989 and spearheaded all achievements and success stories around a legendary entrepreneurial ecosystem to enhance agricultural education and poverty alleviation in Africa.

Chairperson / Social Resiliance

Albert Tsela Motsoikha

Albert is one of the original founding members of the Umnga Farmers Training Group, being part of the organisation for more than 30 years. As a spiritual and religious leader, he is still daily making a huge contribution to the social and mental resilience of beneficiaries and project members. Albert is also a qualified agriculturist with vast experience in project management.

Board member
Women in Agriculture

Me Kgomotso Kgoshe

Kgomotso is a dynamic young female and inspiring leader in her community, fighting for women’s 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
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
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.

Board Member / Lets Grow Food

Gerhardus (Thabo) Olivier r

Thabo is a legendary food activist who is driven to create a community of citizens who are passionate about Africa, health, resilience and food security. Thabo is an experienced Horticulturist who has motivated, planned, trained and implemented thousands of food gardens across Africa. “If you have one excuse not to grow your own food, you have convinced Thabo!”


Umnga Farmers Group Structure and Affiliated Projects


Lead Academy

Specialisation Acadamies

Satellite Campuses 

International Academies – Namibia / Botswana

Special Projects

Industry Partners

Accreditation Bodies