The Western Cape’s top agricultural employee has been crowned. Alexious Shoko, from Piket Bo-berg, was named as the Farm Worker of the Year 2015.
The gala ceremony took place on Saturday night (7 November 2015) at the Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl.
Shoko is an assistant production manager at the Mouton’s Valley farm, where he has been working for the past seven years.
He has been described as dedicated and a leadership figure in his community.
“It’s the most amazing feeling ever” is how Alex Shoko describes his win last night. Alex says he would not have been able to do this without the support of his wife Tabitha. “I’m very thankful to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Shoprite for acknowledging farmworkers in this way. The magnitude of the competition is astounding and I would definitely encourage even more farmworkers to enter next year”.
Lien Visagie, the winner of the Witzenberg regional competition and Martha Januarie, the winner of the Hex Valley regional competition, tied for second place.
Visagie, works at Donkerbos near Rietfontein, and Januarie is an administrative assistant at Villion Farms - Boplaas.
Cornel Paulse, the winner of the Franschhoek competition, was awarded third place.
Paulse is a Junior Manager at Glenwood Vineyards, since 2011.
The Farm Worker of the Year Competition is co-sponsored by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Shoprite, Africa’s largest retailer.
Over 6000 agriculture employees have entered the competition since 2002.
This year, 1 247 residents participated in the competition, a 20% increase from last year.
Following a rigorous selection process, Shoko emerged as the entrant with the highest scores.
As part of this process, entrants are scored on their overall knowledge of the agriculture sector and finance issues in the country and on-farm, this includes budget and costing. Entrants are assessed on topics such as Black Economic Empowerment and the export chain. Experience and agricultural skills are also key criteria.
Regional winners and runners-up receive cash prizes and shopping vouchers from Shoprite. Shoko’s prize includes an oversea trip.
“We have a role to play in the recognition and upliftment of farm workers,” commented Dr Johan van Deventer, General Manager at Freshmark/Shoprite. “These individuals are the reason we’re able to sell quality produce in our supermarkets on a continuous basis.”
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, congratulated Shoko and thanked all the entrants for their contribution to growing the agriculture sector.
“Alexious represents the excellence our world-class agricultural sector is known for. His leadership qualities, dedication and insights into the sector’s key issues earned him the top award.
“I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s entrants. Through their efforts and hard work, we are strengthening the Western Cape’s brand as a producer of high-quality agricultural goods.
“I hope that all of the finalists are able to use the awards as a platform to further develop their agricultural skills and I wish them all the best.”
Alexious not only walked away with the much sought after honour of being the Western Cape’s Farmworker of the Year 2015, but also bagged some big prizes including an iPad Air sponsored by Daleen Turner Consultancy, a R20 000 Shoprite gift voucher, a R60 000 overseas study tour and R20 000 cash sponsored by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
The cell number of Mr Alex Shoko will be given on request for interview purposes.
Alex Shoko accepting the award for 2015 Farmworker of the Year
From left to right: Johan van Deventer (Shoprite), Alex and Tabitha Shoko, Alan Winde (Minister of Economic Opportunities)
Pictures taken by Gizelle van Wyk
For media queries, kindly contact:
Petro van Rhyn
Head of Communication
Department of Agriculture
Western Cape Government