Marieke Mendes – Chairperson
Marieke studied horticultural sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) and started specialising in plant tissue culture while working as a student in UP’s tissue culture laboratory. She first joined the horticultural industry working in growing media, but soon continued with plant tissue culture again, and has been working in this field, along with hydroponics, cutflower production and plant propagation in the region of 15 years. She recently rejoined her previous company, Emerald Green Horticulture, working on various projects in intensive agriculture, and is currently focusing on fungiculture (mushroom farming), plant tissue culture and aquaponics. She has a keen interest in production efficiencies and sustainability in agriculture, training and skills development, and growing the intensive agriculture industry in South Africa.
Lindani Nzimande – Vice Chairperson
Lindani Nzimande studied at the Cedara College of Agriculture and completed in 2010 with a Higher Certificate in Agriculture and a Diploma in Agriculture that encompassed all areas of crop production and management. His majors in his crop speciality were Agronomy and Fruit Tree Horticulture. Thereafter he furthered his studies and completed his Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Management at the University of South Africa.
He joined the horticultural vegetable glass house production industry where he worked for a company that produced tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers under high tech production facilities. He is now based at the Dube Tradeport, working as a Greenhouse Technician at their Dube AgriLab, a plant tissue culture laboratory located at the AgriZone that produces high quality true-to-type, disease free young plants. Lindani is also the newest member of the Intensive Growers Association committee and have recently been voted in as the vice chair
Keith Hartley – Treasurer
Keith is currently the longest standing member of IGA and a well known supplier to the intensive growing industry.
Ms Astrid Badenhorst is a lecturer at Durban University of Technology (DUT), specializing in the subjects of Horticulture Production (Intensive Growing) and Growth Media Technology. Prior horticultural teaching and industry experience was gained in the Western Cape, were she was a member of the Cape Green Forum. She successfully gained an MSc Environmental Management focusing on the prevalence of alien invaders in selected nurseries in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and is now working towards her PhD qualification. Astrid served on the Standard Generating Body for Amenity Horticulture and Landscaping and is appointed by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) as an evaluator for Horticulture/Agriculture programs. She is a member of the KZN Invasive Species Forum, a certified South African Industry Council (SAGIC) Invasive Species Professional and serves on the Board of the Intensive Growers Association (KZN).
Jimmy Lonsdale is a 75 year old retired sugarcane farmer who worked for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development doing business plans and controlling mentors in the land reform programme. He has presented several papers on land reform at SA Society for Agricultural Extension, SA Sugar Industry Agronomists Association, Intensive Growers Association and SA Sugar Technologists Association. As a farmer, he started rural development programmes assisting resource poor farmers to produce sugarcane. He also started a community bank enabling the community of Mfekayi to utilize community funds to assist local emerging farmers. At present he is driving a programme to get State departments involved in rural development to work with commercial farmers to drive rural development.
Johan van Veenendaal
Johan van Veenendaal is the coordinator of the IGA’s two growers’ symposia every year. He qualified at the University of Pretoria as a horticultural scientist. His working career started off in the world of photovoltaics and alternative energy, which then migrated to agricultural automation and milking cows. The first computer he worked on was a Real IBM, with two 180k floppy drives! In 1999, on the eve of Y2K, he escaped from Gauteng with his young family, and settled in Hilton (KZN). In 2002, he joined the KZN Department of Agriculture and Other Affairs, in what was previously the “Audio Visual Services” component, which became Extension Training Resource Development (ETRD), which component got organically transferred to Cedara College of Agriculture in their centenary year 2005. In 2008 he formally crossed the floor to take up a lecturing position with the College. Which also got him involved in the East Coast Intensive Horticulture (ECIH) organisation, later morphed into the current Intensive Growers Association (IGA). He is a devil’s advocate for all styles of production systems, from conventional tillage to aquaponics to permaculture. Whenever a class gets a bit restless, he re-harnesses the students’ attention by finding application of the point under discussion to a specific crop like cannabis.
Rob Osborne was born in Zimbabwe, emigrated to Pietermaritzburg where he
completed his secondary schooling at Carter High. He then enrolled at the University of
Natal where he obtained a B.Sc. Agriculture majoring in plant pathology in 1987. After
his two years of national service, he went back to the university and obtained his M.Sc.
Agriculture in horticultural science under the supervision of Irwin Smith. Rob joined the
Department of Agriculture at Cedara in 1994 as a research scientist. His main research
topics include sweet potato cultivar development, deciduous and sub-tropical fruit
research and helping to establish the local viticulture industry in the province. Since
his appointment, Rob has kept close links with the Seedling Growers Association of
South Africa (SGASA) hosting a number of field days at Cedara. He has also been
active in the floriculture industry as well as the current Intensive Growers Association
(IGA) in its various incarnations.
Viloshanie Reddy (Pr.Nat.Sci)
Currently a PhD candidate (UKZN), manager of the Tissue Culture Section (Parks Leisure and Cemeteries Department, eThekwini Municipality). Research interests in the area of plant biotechnology with specific interests including the use of biotechnology tools in plant biodiversity conservation and the relevance of biotechnology approaches in developing sustainable crop production for medicinal plant species indigenous to South Africa. Active member of the advisory board for The School of Horticultural Science (Durban University of Technology). Co-supervise postgraduate students. Passionate about developing programmes for up-skilling the youth of South Africa in the agricultural sector.
Rolf Hagen, John Sandison and David Gates