Our mission



Harry Gwala Agri is a non-profit company made possible through the collective support and financial contributions from four farmer's associations (Ingwe, Highflats-Ixopo, Mount Currie and Zwartberg) who represent the commercial farmers in the district. The initiative is founded on the belief that commercial farmers can no longer live as islands of prosperity amidst a sea of poverty and that action needs to be taken to extend support to those for whom agriculture is an important or potential livelihood option and who have the motivation and will to improve not only their own circumstances, but who, with the right guidance and resources, can make a meaningful contribution to the local economy.


We are a relationship and project-driven initiative that aims to advise, facilitate, skill and fund passionate aspiring and existing developing farmers, whilst adhering to strict standards of corporate governance and accountability. Our focus areas are extending support to agricultural-related education, and acting as an umbrella body for agricultural development projects in the district to offer support, facilitate their growth and establish new projects from the platform they have laid. Engaging with the private sector, government and other non-governmental institutions is also an important focus in order to garner support for this initiative and to publicise the involvement of those who make it possible. 


Agricultural projects

A broad spectrum of projects exist. At the subsistence level, cultivation techniques suitable for small gardens are being taught at the household level and then passed on through farmer-to-farmer extension, and proving successful in bolstering household food security. While mentoring relationships that are forged between aspiring farmers and commercial farmers with the willingness to impart their expertise are the backbone of this initiative and key to upscaling those projects with the potential for becoming commercial enterprises.


We recognise that agricultural-related education is critical to the sectors development and have worked alongside a local college to establish an in-service training programme for students undertaking their national diplomas in farm management. Key to the success of this are the commercial farmers who are willing to offer these training opportunities to the students and impart their knowledge. 

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The NPC was founded and established, and is funded by existing commercial farmers within the district who recognise the need to support grassroots agriculture in the district. The NPC is guided by a board of very successful individuals who bring a range of expertise and experience but require no compensation in return. We feel this combination of factors is indicative of the goodwill that exists in the district and the genuine desire to see growth and upliftment in the agricultural sector by harnessing the aspiration and potential that exists among the emerging farmers.


Rory Bryden (chairperson)

Born in 1973, Rory Bryden qualified with an Agri Diploma from Cedara. He currently works as a farmer, and in the past has held the position of Chairman of the Mount Currie Farmer's Association. After studying agricultural management at university, Rory Bryden completed his agricultural diploma at Cedar and has since been dairy farming for 20 years in the Kokstad district. He believes that working with Harry Gwala Agri is an opportunity to help developing farmers and people in our communities, and hopes that it will secure the future of food security and farmers in South Africa. 


Peter Button

Born in 1958, Peter Button completed a Dip. Agri through Cedara Agricultural college. He currently owns and runs a farm in the Harry Gwala area. After receiving a diploma in Agri at cedara, Peter worked in the USA on a beef ranch and dairy farm for a year. Peter Button believes that for farmers to be able to live happily on their farms in the years to come they need to uplift the local people in the area focusing on food security and education. He believes that working towards this as a collective will have greater impact than attempting to do it alone. 

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John Bredin

Born in 1947, John Bredin completed his qualifications at Cedara Agricultural College and is now the owner and manager of Myhill, a dairy farm in the Ixopo district. He has held the position of Chairman of Clover Industries Ltd, and is current Chairman of the Clover Producer Trust. John Bredin has farmed on the same farm for the past 50 years, firstly with his father from about 1966, taking over the business in 1969. John Bredin has a very strong conviction that it is not only the responsibility of government to ensure a sound economy but that every citizen should play whatever role they can to do so and in that way improve the current situation of poverty through the creation of meaningful and sustainable job creation. He has no doubt that agriculture could contribute very significantly in this regard, particularly in the rural areas.


Peter Christianson

Born in 1953, Peter Christianson qualified with a B.Comm. Diploma in Accountancy, CA(SA). He currently holds the job title of Management Consultant and has held the following positions: Director – Durban Music School; Chairman of the Social Cluster Audit and Risk Committee – KZN Provincial Government; Member of the Economic Cluster Audit and Risk Committee – KZN Provincial Government. After qualifying as a chartered accountant Peter spent 6 years in academia before starting a management consultancy which successfully managed a newspaper publishing group for 27 years. He retired from the management consultancy in 2014, is still consulting to a number of organisations. Having had over 20 years’ experience sitting on the Boards and Audit Committees of Public Sector organisations, Peter was invited sit on the audit committee of Public Benefit Organisation (HGA) by John Bredin.

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Roy Dandala

Born in 1956, Roy Dandala obtained a Diploma in Agriculture from the Owen Sithole College of Agriculture. Roy Dandala brings with him a wealth of experience in the sphere of agricultural development having worked for many years for both the Institute of Natural Resources and LIMA Rural Development Foundation and now seconded to Kwanalu as manager of their development programme. We recognised the need to have a representative on the board with a comprehensive knowledge of the needs and challenges that beset aspiring farmers in the district and are grateful that Mr Dandala agreed to join our team to offer his guidance and experience.


Phila Mkhize

Born in 1969, Phila Mkhize received an N.Dip BioMed. Tech (micro) MBChB qualification, and went on to become a clinical research assistant. Mr Mkhize grew up on a farm, which is where his passion for agriculture originated. It has always been his dream to make a contribution to the organised agricultural sector. Phila Mkhize is the former Deputy Chairperson of the Harry Gwala District Agripark Management Committee (DAMC), he was the Head of Agriculture in Ward 8, Business Forum, and the Treasurer of the Hluthankungu Business Forum. He is passionate about promoting agriculture within rural South African communities as he believes it is the backbone of a healthy future for our nation.  

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Robert Stapylton-Smith (vice-chairperson)

Born in 1963, Robert Stapylton-Smith qualified with a B.Agric Management degree. He currently works as a Dairy Farmer. Relevant Positions he has held include: Director of Stapylton-Smith Farming CC, Harry Gwala Agri, Baynesfield estate and SA Large Herds Conference. Robert Stapylton-Smith has been farming for 30 years now and believes that farmers have a debt to pay, and that the right path to follow is to work together to redress the wrongs brought about through apartheid.


Leigh-Anne Hauff

Born in 1971, Leigh-Anne Hauff qualified with a B.A. English and Psychology (cum laude), B.A. Hons Psychology (cum laude), and an M.A Psychology (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch. She is registered as a Counselling Psychologist with the Health Professions Council, PR NO 8639825. Relevant positions held include: Psychologist at the Browns’ School, Secretary of the Mackenzie Country Club, member of diversity committee at Lynford School, and co-coordinator of Lynford School fundraising for Lynford Country Weekend. Leigh-Anne Hauff grew up in the Eastern Cape, attended Stellenbosch University, where she met her dairy farmer husband. She lived and worked in London for a year, before taking up the post of psychologist at the Brown’s School in Durban. Later she opened a private practice, which has been in operation for the past 19 years. Leigh-Anne is excited about the role that agriculture and commercial farmers in particular can play in reducing the huge levels of inequality in South Africa. She believes that no project is too small and that connection and communication is the key.

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Douglas Strachan 

Dougie Strachan has been a commercial dairy farmer in the area between Umzimkhulu and Highflats since 1973, establishing a successful food security project with two communities in the process. He brings a great deal of wisdom on the subject of poverty alleviation through upskilling farmers at the household level and has obtained a Masters in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University on this topic. In seeking to make a meaningful contribution to the rural communities of this district, Mr Strachan believes Harry Gwala Agri’s mandate is aligned with his own in this regard. 




Project Manager: Dylan Weyer

+ MSc Environmental Science

Dylan has a deep passion for rural communities. He is enthusiastic and at home with people from all walks of life. For these reasons he has been selected to drive this process and act as a link between the various parties involved.


Secretary: Sarah Firth


Sarah has worked in the farming community both privately and for the Zwartberg Farmer’s Association for a number of years, and is married to a commercial farmer.







Legal Structure

HGA is a section 21 company in the process of applying for PBO and section 18A status in terms of the Income Tax Act. We believe in strict adherence to corporate governance as laid out in the King Report – with particular reference to the appointment of an audit committee and the production of audited financial statements.


The membership at present is made up of the four founding farmer’s associations:

  • Ingwe Farmer’s Association

  • Highflats-Ixopo Farmer’s Association

  • Mount Currie Farmer’s Association

  • Zwartberg Farmer’s Association


The initiative is buoyed by the monthly contributions from the individual members of the Farmer’s Associations. In addition to this we are supported by several companies in the private sector such as De Heus and Dairy Farmers of South Africa who make a monthly contribution. Mascor sponsored the project vehicle while Pannar Seed make an annual contribution towards projects, notably the in-service training programme. 

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Partnering Farmers Associations

Partnering Companies