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NAMPO still going strong after five decades

Over the past half-century Grain SA’s NAMPO Harvest Day has grown from small beginnings in 1967 to the diversified agricultural trade exhibition of world standing it is today. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary at NAMPO Park close to Bothaville from 17 to 20 May.
The Harvest Day’s origin is attributed to the initiative of three producers from Bloemfontein, Moos Haddad, Hannes van Wyk and George Stegmann. For maize farmers, the sixties was a period of transition to large-scale mechanisation and bulk handling of grains and there was a material need to see and compare tractors and implements on a larger scale in working conditions rather than having only one company demonstrating its products on one’s farm.

The three musketeers put their hands to the plough and on 7 and 8 June 1967 the first SAMPI Harvest Day was held at Donkerhoek – Hannes van Wyk’s farm near Bloemfontein. A total of eight exhibitors participated and 203 people attended. However, this modest beginning was the inception of an agriculturally focused, needs-driven trade show that grew continually and accommodated more than 650 exhibitors and around 70 000 visitors last year.

The Harvest Day’s initial focus was on maize production exclusively – in particular its mechanisation aspect by means of controlled demonstrations on a non-competitive basis. Since 2010 it has been transformed into static exhibitions and virtual displays on the stands of the exhibitors, staffed by specialists and marketing personnel. As commercial farming ventures started diversifying for the sake of sustainable profitability, the Harvest Day Committee’s choice of exhibitors and the facilities of the Harvest Day terrain have dynamically kept pace with new developments and the latest farming technology, so much so that practically every facet of agriculture is receiving attention.

“The Harvest Day is the perfect opportunity to compare new technology and other products on one site and decide which product, patent or technology can best be implemented on one’s farm,” said Grain SA’s chief executive officer, Jannie de Villiers.

Stocktaking of the past five decades will be incomplete without referring to the enormous contribution that farmers as members of producer organisations and numerous volunteers have made. Since its inception, the Harvest Day has been owned and presented by voluntary grain producer organisations: Originally by the erstwhile Maize Producers Institute, SAMPI, later – after unification in the maize industry in 1980 – by the National Maize Producers Organisation, NAMPO; and since the consolidation of grain organisations in 1999 until today, by Grain SA.

Grain SA is planning a get-together and lunch on the Friday afternoon to pay tribute to members of the executive and other volunteers as well as staff who have devoted their time and energy to the Harvest Day over 50 years. A roll of honour, being compiled for this purpose, appears on the website at www.nampo.co.za. Persons whose names are not currently on the list, are requested to enter the information via the website.

The Harvest Day chairperson, Cobus van Coller, reckons that in a year of drought it is especially important that producers visit the Harvest Day. He says it is vital that producers talk to one another, exchange information and find out what one can add to one’s farming enterprise to add further value.

De Villiers concurs and reminds producers and the community that being together at the Harvest Day is always encouraging and that it will be more so in these times of hardship.

Grain SA’s members remain a top priority and this commitment is suitably celebrated during Harvest Day. Grain SA’s executive and personnel look forward to receiving our members at the members’ hall. In celebration of the 50th NAMPO Harvest Day held this year, an interesting exhibit on its history will be on view in the members’ hall. Grain SA members will receive their entrance arrangements via email.

Preview NAMPO 2016
Visitors can prepare themselves for a harvest day week offering a combination of the latest mechanisation technology, a wide variety of input products, vehicles, fixtures and more. More than a 90% representation of large-stock and small-stock breeds, as well as horses and even exhibitions by the wildlife industry will be on show at the animal section. Daily livestock exhibitions and an auctioneers’ competition in the auction hall are also on the menu.

The products of seven of the eight exhibitors who participated in the very first Harvest Day are still on show, albeit under different names. Furthermore, the trend of growing international interest by both exhibitors and visitors is continuing and more than 60 foreign exhibitors are participating in this year’s Harvest Day.

The seed plots that were a novelty last year, promise to be a worthwhile visiting point for producers. Seed companies that display, have dug deep to establish crops on the seed plots. Please note that a dedicated ride-on tractor-and-trailer will do regular trips between the Seed Complex and the seed plots.

Interesting things that have become tradition, are once again part of the programme. On this list are the popular 4x4 demonstrations, the Farmers’ Patent Competition, the Engen museum and, of course, a hotchpotch of restaurants, kiosks, a tea garden and takeaway food stalls. The fairer sex can, as usual, look forward to exhibitors who specialise in the finer things of life. Please use the free ride-on tractor-and-trailer transport system that is available on the terrain.

The information and products of the participating exhibitors are available via the NAMPO app that has been created for smartphones or tablets and which is obtainable free of charge from your online shop of choice. Please make sure to download it beforehand in order to get information electronically on the terrain. Use this exciting app to follow the trail to the latest available farming technology and to more than one brand-new bakkie range on view at NAMPO Park.

Grain SA Radio is broadcasting on the site during the harvest day week and offers music, interviews and topical harvest day information. The popular Nation in Conversation programme, which is presented and filmed, is once again rallying South Africa’s top leading minds to promote dialogue on topical matters. Follow this live on social media platforms or afterwards on various TV channels.

Tickets are available online on TicketPro’s website at www.ticketpros.co.za or visit www.nampo.ticketpro.co.za to go directly to the NAMPO page. Alternatively, tickets are on sale at certain outlets also shown on this website or, of course, at the gates. Harvest day visitors who buy tickets in advance, get R10 per ticket discount and they need not move through the ticket office gate. Follow the directions at the gates for persons with pre-bought tickets. On Tuesday and Friday tickets cost R90 per person at the gates and R100 per person on Wednesday and Thursday. Entrance for preschool children is free and parking is also free.

The gates open at 07:00 in the morning and close at 17:00 in the afternoon. No pets, bicycles, carts or motorcycles are allowed on the terrain. Access control is implemented on Monday 16 May to allow exhibitors to do their finishing touches.

Remember to get a free programme booklet at the entrance gates. It contains a terrain map, an exhibitors’ list, a day programme and a layout of refreshment points. More information and the day programme are also available online at www.nampo.co.za, www.grainsa.co.za or at nampo.mobi.

ENQUIRIES:

Johan Loxton, Manager: Commercial Services, Grain SA
Tel: 086 004 7246 | Email: navrae@grainsa.co.za