Thato Moagi aged 25, a farmer in Limpopo Province, was recently chosen as the successful candidate for a Nuffield International Farming Scholarship, which will enable her to travel overseas to broaden her knowledge of agriculture.
Ms Moagi, who is Managing Director of Legae La Banareng Farms near Modimolle, was unanimously approved by Nuffield International's selection panel.
Ms Moagi has chosen as her study topic: "Exploring Integrated Beef Production Models". Whilst beef production is a very small part of her own farm, she says that it has great potential in her region of the Limpopo.
"The area is highly suited to beef farming, and is well-connected to markets"
"My aim is to develop Legae La Banareng Farms into a mega farm that will demonstrate the livestock and crop integrated model that I intend to research and develop during the Nuffield experience."
Her vision is to generate a 'hub and spoke' model, which will have the potential to benefit many emerging farmers in her region.
Ms Moagi is only the third person in the world to receive a Nuffield International Scholarship, which are awarded to individuals in countries where there Nuffield does not have a Trust in operation. The previous two recipients (in 2015 and 2016) are Brazilians.
Chairman of Scholar selection panel, Canadian farmer Kelvin Meadows - a 2011 Nuffield Scholar - says:
"Thato left all of us on the selection panel in no doubt that she is a first-rate candidate for a Nuffield Scholarship. She demonstrated maturity well beyond her years and impressed us with her ambition for both the development of her own farm, and her career beyond the farm looking further ahead."
Chief Executive Officer of Nuffield International Jim Geltch added:
"We at Nuffield are very excited that our ambition to appoint a South African Scholar has become a reality".
"Nuffield Scholars have been including this amazing country on their own travels for many years and from their reporting back it's been clear for a long time that their innovation and energy in farming here, so for some time we have wanted to bring its farmers into our global network of Nuffield Farming Scholars" said Mr Geltch
"For the past three years, we have included South Africa in the Global Focus Program and through this we have made some good friends within the country who have been a huge help in finding local sponsorship and potential candidates for a South African Nuffield Scholarship."
Ms. Moagi will commence her Nuffield Scholarship in 2017, starting with attending the Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC), which this year will take place in Brazil in March.
Immediately after the Conference, she will embark on a Global Focus Program (GFP), a 6-7-week intensive program of travel for groups of around ten fellow Nuffield Scholars of diverse nationalities and agricultural professions. The GFP provides insight into farming policy and practice in the approximately six countries visited by the group, and is considered by Nuffield International to provide a valuable experience in the personal development of the Scholars - many of whom hitherto have had scarce opportunity to be absent from their farm/workplace.
On completion of the GFP, Ms Moagi will then finalise her own program of travel to study her chosen topic; for this she will travel for several months to countries to meet and interview farmers and technical experts.
The final leg of her Nuffield year will be to present her findings at the Nuffield International Conference and submit a written report on her topic.
As well as using their newly acquired knowledge to develop their own businesses, Nuffield Scholars are also encouraged to share with fellow farmers the knowledge they have acquired - such as presenting their findings at local conferences, and contributing articles to relevant publications.
Ms. Moagi's Abbreviated CV:
- Tertiary education: BSc Plant Science, University of Pretoria. Graduated 2013.
- Legae La Banareng Farms: Mixed farm, primarily focused on producing grains (yellow and white maize) and vegetables - principally supplying local markets, including Pick n' Pay and Spar.
- Thato is MD and principal shareholder, responsible for daily operations.
- She also derives an income stream through consulting and training services.
- She is secretary of Waterberg Women Farmers Association, and a member of the African Farmers Association of South Africa, and Bosveld Dorper Club.