Isaac Ntoto: W Cape top agri worker
Alida de Beer
Isaac Ntoto, the Garden Route regional farm worker of the year, is now officially the Western Cape's top farm worker.
Ntoto received the Western Cape Prestige Agri Worker Award at a gala event at the Nederburg Wine Estate on Saturday night. He scooped up the award before 1 317 other entrants.
An elated Ntoto said, "I am very grateful and happy about this award. I feel very privileged to live in this day and age and be part of a good story in South Africa. There is still hope in South Africa and for agriculture. People in agriculture work hard to make our country great. To my fellow agri-workers: The work that you do is important. Thank you for putting your energy into producing food for people's tables every day."
Ntoto is one of six agricultural management graduates of the Nelson Mandela University currently working for Professional Horticultural Consulting in George, which through its 'Garden of Eden' brand is the largest exporter of strawberries in Southern Africa.
Ntoto is junior manager on one of the company's five farms in Brandwag near Mossel Bay. He started as a general worker on the farm, but his potential was spotted and he was soon appointed as supervisor. Last year, he was promoted to the position of technical manager. The owner of the farm, Gavin Linsley-Noakes, said Ntoto won because he possesses the three Ps: passion, purpose and personality.
"Isaac loves working with berries, so the passion is there; he has a purpose - he knows where he wants to go and he has drive. And personality, because when you are farming with berries, you are farming with people and Isaac has a marvellous way with people. He is always smiling and encouraging his team, but he is firm at the same time."
As overall winner, he received prizes in excess of R100 000 and a place on the Prestige Agri Worker Forum that meets with the minister each quarter to discuss agri worker as well as sector related issues.
Garden Route best performing region
Susan Willemse, coordinator of the regional farm worker of the year awards, received a certificate and trophy on behalf of the Garden Route as the best performing region in terms of the farm worker Isaac Ntoto shows off his trophy as 2018 Western Cape Prestige Agri Worker of the Year. With him are, from left: Hermanus Bienas (2017 Western Cape Prestige Agri Worker of the Year), Minister Beverley Schäfer (MEC for Economic Opportunities) and Minister Alan Winde (MEC for Community Safety). INSET: Susan Willemse, coordinator of the Garden Route Agri Worker of the Year, proudly poses with Isaac Ntoto, 2018 top agri worker in the Western Cape.
There are 16 regions in the province. Willemse said they are over the moon.
"This was only the second year that we have participated in the farm worker awards. Our
entries grew from 21 in 2017 to 46 in 2018. We are very excited about the competition." The Prestige Agri Awards have been presented since 2012 and are sponsored by Shoprite.