I started working at the Co Op Community Trust in June 2021. A field I have never worked in before and is very different from what I’m used to. One thing that clearly stands out for me is that the Co Op Community trust encourages individuals, communities, employees and organizations to identify their own unique assets and use them to empower themselves socio-economically.
Our farmers are a great example of people using their assets (land, skills, resources) for the benefit of others.
During my first week I walked in the corridors of the Co Op and heard employees talking about water shortages, irrigation systems, farming development and weather conditions, and my first thought was, I have been the most ignorant person when it comes to agriculture.
Why do I say that?
When was the last time I stopped and thought about where our food come from?
About the farmers who feed us.
About the thin layer of topsoil that sustains life on this planet.
About where we would be without a healthy agricultural industry.
Our farmers use hard work, dedication and innovative thinking to make use of their available resources for the benefit of everyone. The outbreak of Covid-19 placed our families, communities, countries, economies under unprecedented pressure. Our farmers, were standing strong in the middle of this storm: most of them did not lock down their farms, because their activity was so much more than a business. They felt the responsibility of feeding the world.
Today all of us, all the governments dealing with food supplies, all the institutions called to implement the global agenda for sustainable development realize that agriculture represents the backbone of our societies.
So today I want to thank the South-African farmer, the farmer whose land is more than a livelihood; the farmer whose land is their home, pride and legacy. The farmer who provides for each of us with the results of their labor. And thus, in many ways, each of us are better off because of the virtues of agriculture. The value of the farmer is felt both here and abroad; humanity is benefited in health, substance and quality of life.
Thanks to the South-African farming family and, thanks too, to all the ancillary support personnel of the agricultural industry.