The empowerment of farmers is all inclusive, and no man will be left behind, affirmed Agri SA Pierre Vercueil during his presidential address at the organisation’s virtual congress this morning. These are surely difficult times, he said, and a rocky road lies ahead as we venture towards the future.
Vercueil believes collaboration is key in overcoming challenges in the sector. Agri SA’s mandate is clear, he added. “We have to be accessible and accountable to all farmers. We must be driven by results.”
He further gave a practical example of collaborative efforts that had already moved mountains in the sector. It was the tireless work of Tommie Esterhuyse, chairperson of Agri SA’s rural safety committee, and Kobus Visser, director of rural safety and provincial affairs, who ensured that government paid the necessary attention to violence in rural communities.
It was also through collaboration where Eastern Cape farmers are now set to benefit from a multi-million rand deal with Kuwait-based livestock trade giant Al Mawashi. The success of the deal was turned into reality by Agri Eastern Cape president Doug Stern and his staff and Agri SA’s commodity chamber.
“This is how we collaborate to make things work in agriculture. It creates opportunities for both new farmers and developed farmers,” said Vercueil.
“To advance Agri SA’s mission, we must enable farmers and ensure its (the sector’s) long-term welfare. When we talk of enabling farmers, we mean smallholder (farmers) who farm to survive, we talk about family farms, we talk about corporate farms. In order for the industry to progress, we must be actively involved in agricultural development.”