500 farmers confirmed for historic first covid-19 webinar

Free webinar in partnership with Grobank will offer insights and practical tips for surviving the crisis

Not to be Missed

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While millions of South Africans are caught up in the covid-19 lockdown, more than 500 farmers from all over the country will on Thursday gather virtually for a free webinar on the impact of the pandemic on food systems, food security and agricultural livelihoods.

Presented by the award-winning agricultural news and lifestyle platform Food For Mzansi, in partnership with Grobank, the webinar’s theme is “We shall overcome: South African agriculture beyond Covid-19”. Many top agricultural leaders are confirmed as panellists, including Christo van der Rheede from Agri SA, Dr. Vuyo Mahlati from Afasa, Dr. Sifiso Ntombela from the National Agricultural Marketing Council, and Grobank CEO Bennie van Rooy. The founder of Izindaba Zokudla, Dr. Naudé Malan, will be speaking on the importance of building a resilient, circular agricultural enterprise.

Click here for last minute webinar registrations.

Furthermore, Food For Mzansi and Grobank have confirmed the participation of Ronelle Louwrens, the CEO of the award-winning YehBaby Digital, who specialises in developing digital strategies for small, medium and micro-enterprises. Louwrens will highlight the importance of fast-tracking digital transformation during and post covid-19.

Programme for the “We shall overcome: SA agri beyond covid-19” webinar, proudly presented by Food For Mzansi and Grobank

Thursday, 16 April 2020 from 08:45 to 13:00

Dawn Noemdoe, editor of Food For Mzansi.

08:45 – 09:00 Dawn Noemdoe, editor of Food For Mzansi: Welcome remarks and webinar programme overview

Dawn Noemdoe is the editor of Food For Mzansi, South Africa’s leading agricultural lifestyle and news platform. Unashamedly saluting the unsung heroes of this sector, Food For Mzansi champions the cause of the farmers and agricultural heroes who feed the nation. Last year, Food For Mzansi was announced as Africa’s best digital news start-up.

Dr. Naudé Malan, professor and founder of a Soweto-based farmers' lab, discusses the importance of empowering and uplifting the poor through technology.
Dr. Naudé Malan, founder of a Soweto-based farmers’ lab called Izindaba Zokudla.

09:00 – 09:30 Dr. Naudé Malan, founder of Izindaba Zokudla: “Surviving covid-19: Building a resilient, circular agri-enterprise”

Dr. Naudé Malan is a senior lecturer in development studies at the University of Johannesburg. He is the convener of the multi-stakeholder engagement project Izindaba Zokudla that aims to create opportunities for urban agriculture in a sustainable food system in Soweto, Gauteng.

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Afasa’s Dr. Vuyo Mahlati

09:30 – 10:00 Dr. Vuyo Mahlati, president of Afasa: The future of small-scale farming in South Africa

Dr. Vuyo Mahlati is the president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa). Her PhD from Stellenbosch University researched the value of integrated supply chains and global markets in commercialising natural products in rural areas. Also, she is the founder of Africa’s first indigenous wool processing plant in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape. Afasa facilitates the development of African farmers to increase their meaningful participation in the agricultural sector. It also actively mobilises resources for the benefit of their farmers.

10:00 – 10:15 Break: Please reconnect for next session commencing at 10:15 

Christo van der Rheede, deputy executive director at Agri SA

10:15 – 11:00 Christo van der Rheede, deputy executive director of Agri SA: “Re-imagining agriculture during and post covid-19”

Christo van der Rheede is the deputy executive director of Agri SA. In his role at Agri SA he drives transformation within the agricultural sector, amongst other duties. Agri SA serves on government’s covid-19 task team. The federation of agricultural organisation promotes the development, profitability, stability and sustainability of primary agriculture in South Africa through its involvement and input on national and international policy and the implementation thereof.

Ivor Price
Ivor Price, co-founder of Food For Mzansi

11:00 – 11:15 Ivor Price, co-founder of Food For Mzansi: “How small-scale farmers can benefit from R1.2 billion covid-19 funding” 

Government has set aside R1.2 billion for assistance to mainly target financially distressed small-scale farmers. Of the R1.2 billion, R400 million is for farmers within the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) programme. The remainder will be channelled towards other farmers within certain commodity sectors. Attendees will get more information on the farming sectors from which farmers will be helped financially as well as the application requirements.

Grobank CEO Bennie van Rooy

11:15 – 12:00 Bennie van Rooy, CEO of Grobank: “Crisis of abundance: A bank that empowers small-scale farmers”

Bennie van Rooy is the CEO of Grobank, a business and commercial bank passionate about food security across South Africa and Africa. With over 70 years’ experience the bank has many streamlined products, expertise and services that focus on every link in the food value chain. Grobank has assisted its community through many crises, uncovering what matters most and then finding ways to see that most become more – even in the most turbulent economic times.

12:00 – 12:15 Break: Please reconnect for next session commencing at 12:15.

Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC).
Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist of the NAMC.

12:15 – 12:45 Dr. Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist of NAMC: “Rebuilding the South African economy post covid-19” 

Dr. Sifiso Ntombela is the chief economist of the National Agricultural Marketing Council. He is a well-known trade specialist in areas of agricultural product exports and imports, frequently publishing expert analysis on the movement of the country’s agricultural products, trade policies and new markets. The NAMC provides marketing advisory services to key stakeholders in support of a vibrant agricultural marketing system, and strategically positions proudly South African agriculture in a dynamic global market.

Ronelle Louwrens, CEO of YehBaby Digital.

12:45 – 13:15 Ronelle Louwrens, CEO of YehBaby.co.za: “Survive and flourish by fast-tracking your digital strategies”

Ronelle Louwrens is the CEO of YehBaby Digital, an award-winning agency that specialises in break-through digital strategies for agri-businesses, amongst others. YehBaby empowers SMME’s to build an online marketing asset that can drive sales. Optimising your digital marketing during and after the covid-19 pandemic can help your agri-business stay afloat and continue to give you the results you desire. The one big lesson from the global crisis is that SMMEs, especially, need to place their faith in the virtual world.

13:15 – 13:20 Closing remarks

Click here for last minute webinar registrations.
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