Six things happening in SA agriculture today, 5 August 2020

Ramaphosa’s son merges cryptocurrency and animal conservation, more action awaits on the Baleia digital winery auction, we meet an agronomist, Batsa sees day in court and a story of sacrifice unfolds

Not to be Missed

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On Food For Mzansi’s agri watchlist today, the son of president Ramaphosa takes centre stage in a dialogue about the globalisation of farming and after months of waiting, Batsa will finally see their day in court.

The gap is also closing as the seats for our exclusive journalism training are filling up fast! Then there are more wines and even a getaway to bid on in SA’s first winery auction. We introduce you to the possibilities of a career as an agronomist. And on a high note, Food For Mzansi brings you some inspiration from Stellenbosch farmer, Sydney Claassen.

1Batsa sees day in court

British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) takes on government over the controversial ban on the sale of tobacco products in the Western Cape High Court today. This after an initial date of the 30th June was postponed by a further six-weeks.

Despite the scaling down of other economic lockdown measures as part of the stepwise reopening of the economy, the sale of tobacco products remains in place. The tobacco industry argues that government has not given sufficient empirical evidence over the alleged health risks associated with smoking and covid-19. Meanwhile government has based the controversial decision on “health concerns associated with smoking and the coronavirus.”

Meanwhile the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) have submitted their application to appeal the decision by the Pretoria High Court that upheld the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

The association last week lodged their appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein and are expecting a response from government. A date for the court showdown will be revealed in due time, says chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni. This is a developing story. Updates to follow.


Itchy fingers, keep going

More bidding action awaits on day three of South Africa’s first ever winery auction. Today (5 August) the bidding wars for a selected range of premium Cape crafted Baleia wines start at R2 500.

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Get your hands on one tasting pack, containing a mixed case of wines and a home tasting sheet as well as a weekend away at the Videira country house in Heidelberg, near Still Bay and Witsand on the Cape south coast.

If you are 18 years of age or older, you can register here to get started.

Items will only be shipped once the nationwide lockdown alcohol restrictions have been lifted, so please expect delays.

3Hurry up and secure your seat!

Are you a liker of things with a knack for storytelling and writing? Are you always in the loop with the latest developments in your community? You still stand a chance to get a seat at the table for exclusive training from Food For Mzansi.

Through its Sinelizwi citizen journalism project 50 South Africans stand a chance to receive expert training in the basics of the journalistic craft through a six-month-long virtual-based programme.

Seats are filing up fast though! The programme forms part of a partnership with the Google News Initiative and seeks to empower the “forgotten people” in rural communities to tell their own stories.

Simply fill in this application form to be submitted by the 8th August 2020 at 12:00. Please note that no late applications will be accepted.


Saving animals: nature conservation meets cryptocurrency

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s youngest son Tumelo is on a mission to climb the ladder of the blockchain in Africa and the world through his company StudEx Wildlife.

In partnership with Animal Exhange and Meso, he hosts the StudeEx Smart Farm Webinar that will be centred around unlocking maximised profits and building sustainable, value-rich farms.

He will be accompanied by renowned veterinarian Dr Morne De la Rey who has helped farmers in the sector reach new heights with genetics on their farms. He is also in the thick of the fight to save rhinos from extinction.

Ramaphosa’s company aims to globalise farming auctions through the digitisation of livestock, wild animals and endangered species by turning them into digital tokens.

Proceeds from all activities within the StudEx ecosystem go to support endangered animals and their habitats, including scientific research and protection from poachers, predators and disease. To join Ramaphosa and De la Rey from 10:00-12:00 register here.

5Farmer’s sacrifices that paid off

Sydney Claassen heeded the call to farm and walked away from his cushy government job. This decision has since yielded great reward, he tells journalist Duncan Masiwa. Five years later and the 40-year-old farmer runs his own seven-hectare vegetable farm in Stellenbosch. It has been a journey of no regrets in his midlife career change. Stay tuned to Food For Mzansi for more, the story goes live at 11:00 today.


Meet an agricultural agronomist

Episode three of the AgriSETA Learner Connect podcast and community radio insert features agronomist and chief operating officer of Farmerlee farms, Lerato Botha (26). Agronomists are often labelled as the “the crop doctors” and act as the go-between farmers and their crops.

One of the greatest perks of the job, is not being confined to the office! So if you are a learner with a passion for the science, tune in to the segment. The episode will be available on all major podcast platforms, the Food For Mzansi website and 19 local radio stations throughout the country. Stay tuned to Food For Mzansi for the downloadable link later today. Find previous episode, here.


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