Saai’s Board Chairman awarded for role in agriculture

Dr Theo de Jager, president of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) and Chairman of the board of Saai, has received an award by the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO) for his role in the strengthening of the organisation, expanding the reach of farmers organisations in Africa and promoting the interests of farmers in advocacy and campaigns.

Dr De Jager served as president of PAFO from 2014 to 2017, and committed to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to engage with policy makers at the African Union on matters such as security of tenure, property rights, infrastructure, trade and the commercialisation, modernisation and mechanisation of small holder farming in Africa.

During his time as president of PAFO he also launched a continental campaign on the promotion, protection, and preservation of indigenous livestock breeds in Africa. He was the first South African farmer to be elected as president of PAFO, and was nominated by the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) of which he was president from 2012 to 2017.

His solid support from national farmers organisations in Africa offered him a basis from which he got elected president of the WFO in 2017 in Helsinki, Finland, after being nominated by the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe.

At the CFU Congress in Harare on 18 November 2021, De Jager also received the prestigious Agricultural Oscar Award in recognition for his role in putting the plight of Zimbabwean farmers in the international spotlight and pushing for compensation for farmers who fell victim to the contentious land grabs since 2001.

De Jager says that he is deeply honoured by both awards and believe that farmers organisations in Africa has a leading role to play in shaping global policies on food systems in levelling the playing fields in international trade and in the war on poverty and hunger. He says the real reward for his involvement in organised agriculture in Africa and the world is a network of clear friends on farms in every corner of the globe.