The countdown has begun for Food For Mzansi’s first ever summit in the Western Cape. Held on Tuesday, 29 and Wednesday, 30 November, the Farmer’s Inside Track Summit is a series of power talks, panel discussions and masterclasses presented by the who’s who of agriculture in the province.
The summit is powered by Kaap Agri, Starke Ayres, CropLife South Africa, Hortgro, Santam, AECI Plant Health and YehBaby Digital. Tickets to the day-and-a-half event costs R550 (excl. VAT) and can be bought online. It includes lunch on both days as well as a complimentary wine tasting by Van Loveren.
SA PALS national organiser Lennox Plaatjies describes the Farmer’s Inside Track Summit as a “golden opportunity” to seek further solutions for the country’s land reform challenges. He is among the speakers confirmed for the event to be held at the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre in Robertson.
“South Africa needs stories of hope,” says Plaatjies. “South Africa needs examples of working land reform models, and I’m excited to share this [with summit attendees]. I am excited to be able to share that there are stories of cooperation between black and white farmers as well as communities; private sector driven models that can be replicated in all areas of our country.”
Plaatjies references black farmers like Johnny Carolus, Raymond Koopstad, Gershwin Louw and Joseph Ndaba who have made a name for themselves as commercial-scale farmers after partnering with the PALS initiative. PALS, an acronym for Partners in Agri Land Solutions, has already been rolled out in Mpumalanga and the Free State.
Meanwhile, Food For Mzansi co-founder Ivor Price says the Farmer’s Inside Track Summit follows hot on the heels of the publication’s Mzansi Young Farmers Indaba held in Sandton last month. This event attracted 350 young farmers and agripreneurs from across the country.
“The format for the Western Cape event is quite different, and it’s not only focused on young farmers. The programme was designed to help new era farmers rise and scale, also through a series of nearly easy-format masterclasses,” says Price.
In total, 21 masterclasses will be offered, including in business management, food safety in farming, legal matters, opportunities in rural development, and technology and agriculture. This is besides a series of panel discussions and talks on other hot topics featuring farmers from across the Western Cape.
Other masterclass highlights include:
Pesticide knowledge and safety practices
The unsafe and indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture represents a major hazard to the environment and human health. In this masterclass, attendees will gain insights into best practices regarding the safe use of pesticides. The session is presented by Rod Bell, chief executive of CropLife South Africa.
Opportunities at the Kaap Agri Academy
This session is presented by Barend Sulvester, senior manager for sustainability at Kaap Agri. The Kaap Agri Academy was first established in 2008 and has since grown into a training centre that has produced hundreds of upskilled graduates, some of whom have secured supply contracts with South Africa’s biggest retailers. The academy is based in Porterville in the Western Cape.
Understanding agricultural insurance
Weather-related risks often thwart agricultural productivity gains especially in the face of climate change. Agricultural insurance serves as a reliable risk mitigation instrument for coping with climate- related hazards. This notwithstanding, agricultural insurance penetration among South Africa’s up- and-coming farmers remains low. This masterclass is powered by Santam.
Opportunities in export markets
With export opportunities still dominated by long- established commercial farmers, what are the opportunities that new era farmers can unlock in this space? This masterclass is presented by Elton Greeve, trade and engagement manager at Tridge.
Opportunities in the deciduous fruit industry
The deciduous fruit industry has the potential to change the face of rural economies in South Africa. Yet, it remains notoriously difficult for new entrants to gain access given its capital-intensive nature. This session is presented by Michael Brinkhuis, chief executive of Hortfin.
Workplace safety in agriculture
Much agricultural work is, by its nature, physically demanding, says Stephan Pieterse, founder of Work Accident Support. The risk of accidents is increased by fatigue, poorly designed tools, difficult terrain, exposure to extreme weather conditions, and poor general health, associated with working and living in remote and rural communities.
Regenerative agriculture and you
In conventional farming, crops and livestock production are typically kept separate. However, with regenerative agriculture this is combined in circular ecosystems; essentially, the animals feed the plants, and the plants feed the animals. This class is presented by Andrew Ardington, the founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Association of Southern Africa.
Plant health for crop farmers
Crop productivity is directly related to crop health; thus, it stands to reason that improved plant health will contribute to greater crop productivity, but exactly what is a healthy crop? Frans Olivier is a technical advisor for AECI Plant Health in the Southern and Western Cape. He has a specific focus on nutrition and the company’s NuWay programme, and will be presenting a masterclass on plant health for crop farmers.
Rural farm safety
Reduce the risk of falling victim to crime this festive season, and every other season. Uys van der Westhuijzen, chairperson of Agri Western Cape’s rural safety policy committee, joins us to off his top rural safety tips to farmers.
How to create a branding identity for your agribusiness
“Once I’m up and running, I’ll invest in building a brand.” Sound familiar? This is a common mindset among farmers who focus on marketing and selling, but often forget their company is both a business and a brand. This masterclass is presented by Ronelle Louwrens, chief executive of YehBaby Digital.
The importance of quality seed
Starke Ayres is the foremost African specialist and global supplier of premium vegetable, flower and lawn seed varieties – both for commercial and home garden planting. This session is presented by Riaan Duvenhage, Starke Ayres’ southern seed sales manager.
Climate change and new era farmers
Presented by Andrea Campher, the manager of Agri SA’s risk and disaster unit, will present a session on the steps small-scale and newly commercialising farmers will have to take in the awake of the climate change crisis.