NKGONO JANE SAYS...
It has again been a difficult season – parts of the country have been very wet and parts are still very dry. We are told that this could be known as ‘weather amplification’, which really means that the weather is just stronger. If you are in a dry area, it will get drier, and if you are in a wet area, it will get wetter. We need to keep this in mind for the future when we decide what to plant and when to plant it. Farming is not getting easier.
There is a lot of talk about land and land redistribution. If you are reading this Pula Imvula then you quite possibly are farming on land – it would be communal land, hired land, own land, commonage or land that you received through redistribution. The most critical aspect of land as an asset is that the land has to be productive. Just having land or access to land will not change your life – your life could change if you are able to use the land that you have.
In order to use the land, you need knowledge and skills; you also need money for the production inputs, and unless you are going to do all the work by hand, you will need access to some mechanisation. This is where the challenges come in – where are you going to gain knowledge and experience, where are you going to get your inputs (the right ones on time), and what mechanisation are you going to use?
As Grain SA, the primary focus of our development programme is to transfer knowledge and skills to empower you to take the right decisions and do the right thing. By attending the study group meetings and training courses, and by reading the Pula Imvula, you will gain information.
We have various programmes to help farmers with inputs – the Jobs Fund Project is one of those where the farmers pay a contribution per hectare and then we supply the inputs and mentoring to the farmers. We also have a project with the DRDLR through their REID programme where we are able to supply inputs and mentor the farmers. There is a huge need for financial support to farmers and currently as Grain SA we are not able to meet the needs of all the farmers. We continue to try to find additional partners to help us with this challenge.
Let us continue to care for the crop that we have managed to plant this year – remember to apply topdressing to the maize, and keep the lands clean of weeds – your crops still needs your love and attention.
Publication: February 2018