About John Allwood
John has more than 30 years practical and conceptual experience in agriculture and rural development, both in Southern Africa and Internationally.
A graduate in agriculture from the University of Natal, he spent 6 years as a manager of a pineapple production unit linked to a cannery in Swaziland. This provided experience in commercial agricultural estate management and vertically integrated agri business, in a value chain linked from primary production to promotion and exporting of finished canned pineapple, grapefruit and asparagus products.
Three years in the newly formed agricultural division of the Bantu Investment Corporation, the precursor of the Development Bank of South Africa, provided experience in establishing 6500 ha major commercially viable irrigation schemes in private public community partnerships in the previous homelands and Namibia. Public private partnerships were formed to enable peasant farmers to enter and succeed in the competitive mainstream agricultural sector.
He successfully built up his own dairy and vegetable farming enterprise on 70 ha irrigated cropping at Ixopo in Kwa Zulu Natal.
The major portion of his career, 19 years, was spent in various leadership capacities with World Vision International in South Africa and in 12 other African countries. This provided international promotional experience in North America, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
In 1996 he returned to South Africa and was appointed Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture. He has served in senior management with the Department for over 11 years, providing leadership for the advisory and technical divisions, Economic Development, Veterinary and Engineering Services.
He introduced new thinking and programmes into the Department, including commercially linked food security programmes, farmer support programmes and played a formative role in initiating the AsgiSA EC major rural development programme initiatives in the Mzimvubu Development Zone. Policy development for the Agricultural Sector during the last 10 years, in cooperation with organised agriculture and Agri Business has been a major responsibility in his portfolio.
He travelled with the MEC for Agriculture and the Premier of the Province on numerous international visits to promote agriculture opportunities in the Eastern Cape.
Retired from the civil service, he is now actively involved in a number of agricultural related rural development initiatives.