Tree Farmer Awards

Each year NCT recognises members for sound and sustainable management practices in tree farming that includes good conservation and silviculture practices. This year, Hendrik Klopper and Mthandeni Ntanzi received the coveted award at NCT’s 70th AGM.

Small-scale grower

Mthandeni Ntanzi, winner in the small-scale grower category, manages five hectares of wattle in the Matimatolo Traditional Authority outside Greytown. He became involved in farming in 2007 and took over the family farm in 2009.

He personally works the field with his regular nine workers. To prevent rabbit browsing in some fields, he keeps the young seedlings under cover of weeds. This strategy has paid off as he gets a good stand survival for his new plantings. Weed competition is one of the growth inhibitors. As a result, he keeps his young trees weed-free under canopy closure to ensure rapid growth and uniformity.

As he faces the annual threat of run-away fires from the adjacent grassland, he hoes clean firebreaks outside of his farm and hoes clean five tree lines inside the farm. This minimises the changes of fires getting into his field.

He has built a good relationship with his neighbours where they clean common boundaries for firebreaks. He supports community members in need with firewood and timber subject to the nature of the need.

Commercial grower

Hendrik Klopper, based near Moolman in southern Mpumalanga won in the commercial grower category. A BSc graduate in forestry dreamt of owning a timber farm having worked for various timber organisations.

He owns 675ha made up of 258ha wattle, 242ha gum and 175ha of open areas. His farms produce 1 250 tonnes of wattle pulpwood, 250 tonnes of bark, 2 000 tonnes of gum pulp wood. He also produces transmission poles for the local treating plant and charcoal wood that supplies kilns on a neighbouring farm. Four hectares of tee-tree plants are planted on one of the farms and he is experimenting with essential oils.

Silviculture operations are of a very high standard. A cool burn is used to reduce brush loads followed by de-stumping. The de-stumping operation enables him to re-plant at 1.8m by 3.6m which allows for mechanised weed control and minimal use of chemicals.

Although his business is focussed on maximising profits, he is very aware of ensuring sustainability. This is illustrated by his management of open areas for conservation, protection of soil by using organic principles and developing people and their businesses.

The winners received a Stihl chainsaw sponsored by Stihl Pietermaritzburg & PMB Power Products.





The NCT tree farmer of the year was initiated in 2002 and is awarded annually to tree farming operations that display excellence in sustainable plantation management.

             Tree farmer 2019

NCT’s 2019 Tree Farmers of the year – Mthanden Ntanzi  won in the category small grower and Hendrik Klopper won in the category commercial grower


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