Farmers and agricultural experts are convening in Sasolburg in the Free State for the first-ever ANAT (Amara Neema Agritech) Farmers’ Indaba this morning. The event is hosted by the ANAT group – a youth-led entity that seeks to redefine agricultural living.
Centred around livestock farming, crops farming and agricultural supplies, ANAT is the brainchild of co-founders Sabatha Segobo, Simphiwe Kahla and Faith Tlaletsi.
ANAT co-founder Sabata Segobo explains that the indaba is aimed at building a farming fraternity amongst up-and-coming farmers in the Free State with a focus on previously disadvantaged groups who want to break into the industry.
“Apart from us wanting to farm individually, what inspired us was the gap we saw in terms of the ever-changing technology, funding, and training capacity building within the farming sphere. We established ANAT with the vision of curbing the challenges that stand in the way of the progress of the emerging black farmer.”
Up-and-coming farmers eagerly anticipated the event, including 23-year-old poultry farmer Lebogang Masilo who recently graduated from the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture. She says she is excited for the platform which presents the opportunity to absorb knowledge from the experts.
“I am looking forward to meeting more established farmers, socialising and getting some insight on how we can get to that level as young, up-and-coming farmers. My dream is to one day own my own farm and branch out as an enterprise. My biggest passion and my hustle is behind poultry farming and so it is my dream to one day become one of the biggest poultry distributors in my community,” Masilo says.
The indaba features several experts who are scheduled to give insight on a plethora of subjects, including the issues plaguing new farmers and solutions to some of their challenges. Keynote speaker Phapha Tito from the Sernick Emerging Farmers Programme will lead a discussion on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on agriculture.
He says the Sernick programme was established to guide new farmers through the dynamics of the farming industry.
Tito’s address will be focused on the group’s journey with emerging farmers and the impact the group has had on the lives of both up-and-coming and commercial farmers.
“No one was looking out for them so we formed this database whereby we would provide them with training. Some of the emerging farmers we have worked with had a very traditional understanding of farming, for them there was no difference between farming produce and livestock farming. There were no barriers between the two and they were not looking into the business side of the trade. So we have given them training and now they know how to manoeuvre the dynamics of different facets of farming,” Tito explains.
The indaba is supported by Standard Bank, the Sernick Group, SAB Foundation, Massey Ferguson, Wonder Water, Future Farmers and Food For Mzansi as the official media partner.
Segobo says the ANAT group is gearing up to change the norms in agricultural practices and implementation in the Free State. “This is the beginning of a new transformation within the agricultural sector and we believe the time is over for talking. We hope the indaba will provoke action within the entities that claim to be supporting the agricultural sector, for others farming is just an idea, but for us through the indaba we are saying it is time we change ideas into reality.”