For three consecutive years emerging farmers throughout South Africa have gathered as members of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) in the aspiration to become some of the country’s most competent and successful commercial farmers. This year’s AFASA Conference on Agri-business Transformation took place in Bloemfontein, Free State from 6 – 8 October 2019 under the theme, Farmers growing South Africa: Creating jobs and trade opportunities.
Massey Ferguson, a global tractor brand of AGCO, with more than 160 years of innovation and experience, joined forces with local distributor BHBW to participate as a platinum sponsor at this gathering that hopes to increase meaningful participation of emerging farmers in the agricultural sector. Massey Ferguson offers high performance products & solutions, including mechanization planning across all farming segments in Africa and is especially known for exceptional product reliability.
The three day conference facilitated information sharing and dialogue between farmers previously excluded from the mainstream economy with various role players in the sector. Together they tackled challenges affecting the broader agricultural landscape such as access to water and electrification, infrastructure development, job creation, barriers to market entry and government’s role in creating an environment for agrarian reform. The stellar line-up of speakers included Minister of Agriculture, land reform and rural development Thoko Didiza; her Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha; Deputy Minister in the department of Water & Sanitation David Mahlobo and billionaire mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe.
Minister Didiza’s keynote address highlighted the need for the sector to embrace technology and to explore new markets in order to ensure future growth. “No region of the world has ever industrialized without the agricultural sector being first transformed. In our own country, we can attest that the main sectors that drove the level of industrialization we see today were agriculture and mining. However, there is still scope for deepening our industrialization in those areas of our country which are still under-developed but hold the promise for agricultural development.”
The need for development was also echoed by Malisha Awunor, Human Resources Director at BHBW at the Gala dinner. “We are excited to play our part in Agribusiness transformation through the development of farmers and more importantly, building sustainable communities. Farmers, particularly emerging farmers will play a vital role in ensuring food security for South Africa’s future. We need to boost productivity by bringing underutilised land into production, supporting job creation and community development.”
Representatives from commodity organisations and the finance industry were also invited to share their approach to the transformation of the agribusiness value chain such as effective retail finance solutions to emerging farmers. The conference concluded with a detailed declaration and resolutions on how to improve crop standards, create more jobs and trade opportunities while for local agriculture and highlighted challenges.
Massey Ferguson technology and a range of product solutions were on full display at the venue and the team from the manufacturer AGCO & distributor BHBW were at hand to confer on Massey Ferguson’s integrated high tech solutions and advisory services to assist farmers optimize their resources, reduce operational costs and increasing productivity.