Advocating for the active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain

19 - 23 September 2011
Ezulwini, Swaziland

FANRPAN Annual Awards Winners Announced in Swaziland

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Date: 
Authors: 
Ben Rootman
Source: 
Junxion Communications
Article content: 

The Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network's (FANRPAN) annual awards of excellence in agriculture were announced in Mbabane in Swaziland tonight.


Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN, addressed delegates at the annual FANRPAN awards ceremony.

The Food Security Policy Leadership Award was made to Her Majesty, Queen Mother Ntombi, Indlovukazi of Swaziland by FANRPAN Chairman Sindiso Ngwenya.

The award for Food Security Policy Leadership Award was made to Her Majesty, Queen Mother Ntombi, Indlovukazi of Swaziland, the award for the Civil Society Policy Mover and Shaker went to Mrs Happy Shongwe and the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism was made to Ms Mantoe Phakathi

The Queen Mother was awarded for, among, others, her leadership with various agricultural innovations in Swaziland. These include the mushroom farming project which was originated on her request and was run by TICA in cooperation with Thailand's Phra Dabos Foundation and Swaziland's Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The project addresses food security and generates income for the country's farmers and creates jobs for local women.

She also secured a goat market for Swazis in the Seychelles. As part of this initiative, Swazi goat breeders export their goats to the Seychelles.

The Swazi indigenous products project produces the Swazi Secrets range of products under the patronage of the Queen Mother. It helps poor rural Swazi women to generate income from natural products. It is now owned by member groups of rural suppliers and also assists with social development by supporting self help groups and a rural livelihoods programme.

The Queen Mother also initiated a project for the further use of Marula fruit seed. These are crushed and the nuts harvested. Oil is then extracted from these, packaged in Swaziland and exported as cosmetic products.

She has a dream for Swazi women to own a bank. It will empower women to venture into business in a more professional manner and with a more professional approach. Efforts to make this dream come true are underway.

In her joint ruling of the country with the King, the Queen Mother is regarded as a spiritual and national head of state, with real power counter-balancing that of the king. She is a Companion of the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management

The Civil Society Policy Mover and Shaker Award winner Mrs Happy Shongwe is a smallholder farmer that produces seeds. She started producing after Swaziland was hard hit by drought in 2002. As the Food Agricultural Organization assisted the hardest hit communities with food vouchers, they also gave them information on how to best respond to the drought.

Shongwe started to plant crops that are drought resistant, moving away from planting maize that could not cope in the changing climate. She planted leguminous plants that have proved to be drought resistant.

Over the years her move has yielded good results and registered a company as a seed producer - she is now a certified seed producer. Shongwe also assists her fellow community women by sharing information and knowledge gained from the extension officers.

Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award winner Ms Mantoe Phakathi is a senior reporter at the Nation Magazine in Swaziland. She has reported extensively on food, agriculture and natural resources issues.

Phakathi has a track record for reporting on issues relating to climate change and environmental degradation. Her articles show great insight, her reporting is not sensational and she uses the voices of community members and other players to show how initiatives will be beneficial to the community.


Mantoe Phakathi, a senior reporter at the Nation Magazine in Swaziland, was the winner of the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.

The Civil Society Policy Mover and Shaker Award was made to Happy Shongwe, a smallholder farmer from Swaziland.

She is a journalist who is a strategic partner in the quest to disseminate key messages to stakeholders and is well-known in local as well as regional media circles.

Swaziland's Acting Prime Minister, Lindiwe Dlamini, said these awards are important to recognise individuals for their outstanding performance.

"We have to tell others the stories of a few so that these fine examples are worthy of emulation and, dialogue focuses on the youth. There is a need for our youth to see that exemplary role models can hail from our continent.

"As our youth migrate from a continent that oozes a rich cultural heritage to a world that is characterised by multimedia images, messages and 'superhero' characters, we need to teach them to see the rue meaning of a superhero. These are people like the resilient women of Africa, the selfless mothers who do not have the word 'retirement' in their vocabulary. The fathers who work long hours in massive fields, attempting to beat all odds to put food on the table. These are the heroes and heroines of Africa - they selfless role models that we should respect and admire," she said.