After six decades in which it grew to be one of the biggest privately-owned agricultural exhibitions in the southern hemisphere, the annual Nampo Harvest Day will be going virtual this year, organisers Grain SA announced.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic the iconic agricultural showcase that takes place near Bothaville in the Free State each year was initially postponed to August. The physical event has now been cancelled and will be taking place entirely online, Grain SA says.
From 9 to 12 September 2020 the exhibition, themed “Find your 2020 Agri-Vision”, will virtually connect farmers, suppliers, and colleagues. Virtual attendees will be able to enjoy their favourite exhibitors and consume a wealth of online content across the industry and the globe from the comfort of their homes.
For attendees to enjoy the full show from their homes, Nampo announced that the online platform would be available with extended show hours from 09:00 to 19:00, which will include a Saturday up to 14:00. All this can be accessed from any smart device connected to the internet.
“During the pandemic, which is expected to peak in September, we cannot responsibly go ahead with a show that attracts more than 20 000 visitors a day,” said Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA. “Despite months of planning, considering the state of the pandemic throughout, and an initial extension to the original Nampo Harvest Day date, cancelling the Harvest Day is the only logical route.”
The coronavirus disruption is also driving Nampo to give its digital presence a facelift.
A new interface will showcase the latest innovations while visitors will be able to sign up for private consultations and participate in technical presentations.
Though the virtual event might not be able to replace the face-to-face showcase, Grain SA anticipates a continuation of the online offering going forward, that will hopefully reach an even broader audience in the coming years. The virtual event will then complement the face-to-face experience.
The decision to go online was not taken lightly, the organisers say. It involved lengthy discussions with grain producers, farmers, the public, and various other stakeholders in the agricultural industry.
Toit Wessels, assistant manager for Nampo, says, “The coronavirus pandemic has touched every corner of the world, and although saddened that the 2020 Nampo Harvest Day will not go ahead, Grain SA’s primary responsibility is making sure that farmers, exhibitors, stakeholders, and staff stay safe.”
The future of Nampo’s related events is currently being discussed. The provisional dates being considered for these events are 24 to 26 September for NAMPO Cape and 29 to 31 October for Nampo Alfa Livestock, Hunting and Outdoor.