Farming with nature, a new television series highlighting the remarkable conservation farming journey of six Southern Cape farmers, is set to debut on both DStv and Openview next week. Produced by Food For Mzansi in partnership with SSK, the six-episode show was filmed over the course of a year to capture seasonal changes.
The first episode features Jacobus Human, whose father, Jack Human, holds the esteemed title of the father of conservation agriculture in South Africa. Subsequent episodes will introduce Piet Gildenhuys, CD du Toit, Dirk van Papendorp, Pieter de Jager, and Johan Muller.
Henk de Beer, former COO of SSK and advisor on Farming with nature, says he half-expected the participating farmers to be camera shy. Yet, most were at ease alongside Food For Mzansi assistant editor Duncan Masiwa, who makes his debut as a television presenter.
Connecting with farmers
He says, “In most cases, it was a case of first recording, final recording. Their candid and heartfelt storytelling has added authenticity to the series, allowing viewers to connect with the farmers on a personal level.”
De Beer is in awe of their profound knowledge of conservation agriculture and dedication to sustainable farming practices. “It impressed me, once again, how knowledgeable they are, how broad their knowledge is and how focused they are to preserve and, where possible, leave a better farm for their descendants.”
From the early days of trailblazers like Jack Human to the present success stories, he believes the conservation farming practices showcased in the series not only demonstrate visible effects in terms of soil and natural resource conservation but also have a substantial financial impact on the stability and success of farming in the region.
“I have always had the need to ensure that this story and all its elements are preserved for future generations of farmers to take inspiration from, and this project has made that possible,” says De Beer.
Highlighting the crucial role of agriculture
He emphasises the importance of showcasing the reverence for nature that farmers exhibit in their daily work. “I think it is important that the general public know where the food they eat comes from and with how much care, expertise, and respect towards nature, it is produced.”
The multiplier effect of agriculture on rural communities, exemplified by enterprises like SSK, Southern Oil, and Eureka Mills, is highlighted, underlining the crucial role agriculture plays in sustaining local economies.
“I really hope viewers of this series experience how much respect the farmers have for nature and their environment,” he says. “I hope and trust that every viewer will look at fields along the N2 with different eyes and greater understanding when they drive through the Southern Cape again,” says De Beer.
- Watch Farming with nature from Monday, 18 September to Sunday, 1 October at 19:30 on People°s Weather, DStv channel 180 and Openview channel 115. There is also a repeat broadcast at 21:00 on the same evening. For a comprehensive weekend catch-up, stay tuned for the omnibus edition airing on both Saturdays and Sundays.
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