Aviwe Gxotiwe, an award-winning farmer from the Eastern Cape, has big dreams – not only for his farm but for his community and his country. He wants Africa to take its rightful place under the sun. Talk is cheap, but Lindiwe Sithole, host of African Farming Season 2, discovers Gxotiwe is the real deal. He invests much time and effort into helping his farm workers to upskill.
One of the main reasons Aviwe Gxotiwe wants to grow the business is to create more opportunities for those who have been forgotten by society. Because business is his passion, he has a unique approach to farming and values partnerships and networking. “I want to build a bright future for my children,” he says.
He knows the importance of this groundwork, as his own father created opportunities for him to realise his full potential.
Praveen Dwarika, managing director at Lemang Agricultural Services, is impressed by Gxotiwe’s approach. “I am so glad he realised the value of formal and informal training. Never underestimate the importance of both,” he says during an expert panel discussion on the show. “Good education is critically important in uplifting others.”
Dwarika says South Africa has embraced a new type of training that focuses on classroom activities as well as on practical training. “To make this a winning strategy, mentorship should play just as important a role in training.”
He says that while one can have a good academic foundation, learning from experts is even more valuable. “That is where the secrets really lie and I strongly encourage farmers to become mentors.”
Dwarika also urges farmers to have conversations with their peers and choose a mentor for them. “Don’t be afraid to have an open conversation with those in the industry and seek out key opinion leaders in your area. Use every opportunity you have to share and gain valuable information.”