ICYMI: Dr Sifiso Ntombela elected AEASA deputy president

News in the agricultural industry includes that the NAMC's Dr Sifiso Ntombela has been elected as deputy president of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa, and that climate and risk scientist Professor Stephanie Midgley has shared some insights into the SmartAgri plan with Hortgro. Photos: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

News in the agricultural industry includes that the NAMC's Dr Sifiso Ntombela has been elected as deputy president of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa, and that climate and risk scientist Professor Stephanie Midgley has shared some insights into the SmartAgri plan with Hortgro. Photos: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) announced last night that Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist for the organisation, has been elected as deputy president of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).

Additionally, Dr Ndumiso Mazibuko has been elected as an additional member. The decision was made during the 60th annual general meeting of AEASA’s management committee, held on Thursday, 7 October 2021.

Midgley unpacks SmartAgri plan

Prof. Stephanie Midgley was appointed by the Western Cape department of agriculture as climate change and risk scientist earlier this year to assist with the implementation of the SmartAgri plan, and was interviewed by Hortgro to gain insight into the benefits this will hold for the deciduous fruit industry.

Professor Stephanie Midgley is a researcher and project manager in agriculture, food security and climate change, and a climate change and risk assessment expert for the Western Cape department of agriculture. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Dr Ilse Trautmann of the department of agriculture and Penny Price of the Western Cape department of environmental affairs and development planning came up with the SmartAgri plan. It was created in 2013 with the goal of making the province’s agriculture sector more robust.

In 2014, Midgley and a team from the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town won the bid to develop the plan, which was launched in 2016. Up to 2018, she was also involved in the implementation as an external consultant.

“The development of the SmartAgri plan was very participatory and there was a huge focus on stakeholder engagement,” recalls Midgley. She and her team consulted a diverse set of role players from across the agriculture industry, as well as representatives from a range of government departments.

“We wanted people to unpack what they view as their risks, and how they are already adapting and responding to those risks. And then we wanted to find out what they would like to do, and what barriers they face.”

To read Hortgro’s full interview, click here.

Australian agricultural shows thrown a lifeline

A $25-million support package has been announced for Covid-hit agricultural shows and field days in Australia to help them return in 2022.

The federal government stated that the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Day Initiative will be extended by $21 million this year, including a $4 million programme to help showmen and women.

Since the outbreak began, more than 700 exhibits and field days have been canceled, including more than 250 events this year, according to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

Event hosts in South Africa are grappling with the effects of cancellations too.

ALSO READ: This week’s agriculture events: 11 to 17 October

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