27th Sep 2020
With less than a week to go before the first of Agri-Expo’s new-format information days, registrations are rolling in for the virtual edition of the jam-packed SIYABONGA days connecting farmers with industry experts.
The information days, which were usually presented during Agri-Expo Livestock outside Stellenbosch, has adopted a new virtual format in the wake of covid-19 restrictions. The SIYABONGA days will now be presented in three different Western Cape locations, and also broadcast live so that farmers can connect from anywhere in Mzansi. Although physical attendance has reached its maximum capacity, online registrations are still accepted.
First-up is Beaufort-West on Friday, 2 October 2020 followed by Grassy Park and Clanwiliam on Fridays, 9 and 16 October respectively. All these SIYABONGA events are scheduled for 10:00 to 13:00 and will empower farmers with basic agricultural information, giving them an opportunity to directly engage with experts that can help them grow their agribusinesses.
The information days have been some of the most successful platforms at Agri-Expo Livestock for many years, says Agri-Expo chief executive Johan Ehlers. They are therefore amped to take the SIYABONGA days directly to three farmer hotspots while simultaneously being broadcasted live.
Ehlers says, “The covid-19 pandemic has hampered many agricultural opportunities and to reach the agricultural community in innovative ways is not easy, but that is exactly what we are doing with the SIYABONGA days. We need to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities that technology offers us, but we also need to reach people at the grassroots level.”
‘A big boost for small-scale farmers’
Agri-Expo is also most excited about the series’ new name, says Ehlers. “Siyabonga means thank you and what is more appropriate than to say thank you to agriculture and the farmers of South Africa at a time when agriculture means so much to our country? SIYABONGA also is an acronym for ‘Sharing information to improve yields in agriculture for a better-off next generation of agriculturalists.’”
The Agri-Expo information days have been presented in collaboration with the Western Cape department of agriculture since 2014 and are already an institution – especially among small-scale farmers. Organisers believe the seven-year partnership is proof of how government and the private sector can work together to empower farmers.
“As the Western Cape department of agriculture, we are here to serve the agricultural sector,” says Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, who heads up the department.
“The agricultural sector is the sunrise sector that is key to the economic recovery of not just the Western Cape but for South Africa. We would like to provide the necessary support to our farmers to improve productivity, ensuring food security. The SIYABONGA days creates a great platform to reach more people now than in the past and we look forward to partnering with Agri-Expo once again.”
According to Breyton Milford, operations manager of Agri-Expo, the first three SIYABONGA days will be hosted in key locations.
Milford says, “Not only has the name been changed, but due to the covid-19 cancellation of the popular Agri-Expo Livestock, the SIYABONGA days are now presented in different regions to take the information to the people who faithfully supported these days in the past.”
Farmers and interested parties can join online for free, ask questions and be part of the virtual discussions.
Beaufort West on Friday, 2 October from 10:00 – 13:00
Beaufort West’s programme focuses on management and nutritional principles to overcome drought as well as partnership opportunities in the Karoo. Dr Louis du Pisani, an expert on drought conditions, will lead the discussion on management, after which Hans Greeff, a lecturer at Grootfontein Agricultural College, will talk about the correct nutrition in these times. Konsortium Merino and the Mohair Empowerment Trust will discuss collaboration opportunities.
Grassy Park on Friday, 9 October from 10:00 – 13:00
In Grassy Park, the programme focuses on small-scale farmers in an urban environment. The author of the book Boer met Kleinvee (“Farm with small stock”), Leon Kruger, will advise on productive management in confined spaces. Donald Mouton, farm manager of Fairview in Paarl, will talk about which animals adapt to which conditions. Inspiration will come from Carol Kirkwood Pretorius, an award-winning female farmer from the Ceres-Karoo, as well as from a small school with a big agricultural heart in Belhar, a suburb of Cape Town.
Clanwilliam on Friday, 16 October from 10:00 – 13:00
Clanwilliam can look forward to experts’ advice on mixed farming. Winter cereals are under discussion by Grain SA, after which the focus shifts to the benefits of wool production by the National Wool Growers’ Association (NWGA). This is followed by a practical demonstration with guidelines on what to look for in small stock as well as a discussion of different sheep and goat breeds. The well-known rooibos farmer Niklaas Slinger concludes the program with advice, information and motivation.
Source: Food For Mzansi