By Carme Naude
Najwah Allie-Edries, the head of the Jobs Fund visited the Ceres region’s beneficiaries on 7 February. The tour started at La Vouere where Raymond Koopstad welcomed them together with his strategic partners Georgie Hewitt and Pieter Wolfaardt from Verdun Estate. They highlighted that they focus on getting the highest production potential from the land to ensure that the farm breaks even as soon as possible. For them, it is critical to employ people from the community within the region as well as the younger generation because they constantly have new ideas. “It is important that the trees get personal attention, which is why a hand touches every tree at least once a week,” Raymond says. After the briefing, they visited the orchards and the group was shown where the new plantings will be done around September this year.
“We need to appreciate the importance of partnerships. Meaningful empowerment results when partners are equally invested in one another’s success,” Allie-Edries emphasises. There are amazing possibilities if a partnership works and when there is a shared vision. “Farming is a high-risk business and it is important to make the right decisions and to do that it is useful when you are trying to build your business to have a sounding board, someone that can show you your blind spots.” She also says that to be successful farmers require not only technical support but also emotional support. “It is critical to have the right attitude and work with transformational partners who want to evolve together- that will ensure the future of agriculture.”