An African is yet again leading the World Farmers’ Organisation(WFO). South African Theo de Jager was elected as its president yesterday.
Dr de Jager is the first South African to head the organisation and the second African after Dr Evelyn Nguleka from Zambia.
De Jager was nominated by the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union who also congratulated him on the new title.
“We know that Theo has a keen interest in our local situation as well as his commitment to farmers at large in advocating at a global scale for pro-farmer policy in matters such as climate change and ending farmer poverty.
“We look forward to continued collaboration with him as we search for solutions to our local problems as farmers and in his work on the global agriculture platform for farmers,” the organisation said in its congratulatory note.
De Jager will be joined by Alfred Kapichira Banda from the Farmers’ Union of Malawi, who was also elected to the WFO board.
De Jager competed with Dr William Rolleston, acting president of the WFO and chairperson of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, and Fritz Glauser, vice president of the Swiss National Farmers’ Union and treasurer of the WFO.
Passion for farming
De Jager is well-known in agricultural circles in Africa where he campaigns for modernisation, commercialising and mechanisation. He is also a successful commercial farmer.
He represented AgriSA at the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) for the past eight years and has been president since 2013. He was also president of the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) until recently. De Jager is a co-founder of Agri All Africa, a company which assists small farmers in Africa to transition to commercial farming. He was also voted South African Agriculturalist of the Year in 2016 by the Agricultural Writers SA.
He will take over the position from Rolleston, who was intermediate president after the late Dr Evelyn Nguleka resigned in September 2016. Nguleka was charged with theft and money laundering at the Zambian National Farmers’ Union.