Soil scientist. Human resource manager. Marketer. Sales consultant. Small farmers need to wear quite a number of hats to keep their businesses afloat. Now, with the agritech platform YeboFarmer, smallholders get access to consultants who can help them perform all of these roles – and more.
“Generally in agriculture, and particularly when it comes to more localised, entrepreneurial, small-scale forms of farming, we as a society tend to grossly underestimate how difficult this is,” says the founder of agritech platform YeboFarmer, Dr Luke Metelerkamp. He joins us on this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track to chat about the start-up.
Metelerkamp has been working as an agricultural educator and researcher for the last decade. He says that his own experiences as a new farmer were among his reasons for starting the platform.
Despite his PhD, background, research and quite extensive networks in the sector, he was coming up against questions for which he was struggling to find answers. “I didn’t know who to reach out to and spent a lot of time and energy trying to find the right people and the right answers to the questions I was facing as a farmer starting out.”
Metelerkamp explains that there’s a large knowledge gap among small farmers in the country, with the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development wanting to enrol 10 000 more extension workers to improve their ratio to farmers. The problem isn’t necessarily a lack of knowledgeable people, but rather their being out of reach for ordinary smallholders.
“[YeboFarmer] is a way of putting real power in the hands of farmers when it comes to selecting and evaluating the extension workers and agricultural trainers who support them.” Metelerkamp says the platform is all about connecting farmers to people who might not otherwise be able to connect to them.
To celebrate their launch, YeboFarmer is giving away a total of R25 000 worth of credit to five lucky farmers. Each of the winners will get R5 000 credit to spend on support or advice on the YeboFarmer platform.
To enter, go to www.yebofarmer.app and create a farmer profile. Once your profile is created, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and explain what type of knowledge or advisory service you need, and how you will use the YeboFarmer platform to help your business flourish.
Other podcast highlights:
Food For Mzansi’s popular and award-winning podcast also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week:
- Water scarcity: The Eastern Cape is sitting at the bottom of the barometer when it comes to water security. Human settlements, water and sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau joins us to explain the province’s recovery strategy.
- Agri 101: Today we introduce a new segment called Agri101, where agripreneurs give us insight into the diversity of the agri value chain. Our first guest is Western Cape agripreneur Vusumzi Mokoena, owner of Mavusana Rooibos Tea.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is “Wanted Dead and Alive: The Case for South Africa’s Cattle” by Gregory Mthembu-Salter. The book is reviewed by Carolien Samson, head of strategy and sustainability at Access Bank SA.
- Farmer’s tip of the week: Our tip this week comes from Binele Motloung, a community farmer from Sebokeng in Gauteng.
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