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A WORD FROM…Derek Mathews

June 2020

The Pula Imvula team chatted with Grain SA’s newly elected chairperson, Derek Mathews. We asked him why he thinks farmers should belong to an organisation like Grain SA. This is what he had to say: ‘Now, more than ever before, it is very important to not only belong, but also to participate in the activities of Grain SA!’

Firstly, allow me this opportunity to convey my thanks to all the Grain SA farmers who have placed their trust in me to be their new Chairperson with Ramodisa Monaisa and Richard Krige as deputies. I look forward to my term of office and all the challenges that we will face together. We are living in ‘different’ times. A time where politics are confusing and concerning. Add to those challenges the raging pandemic brought by the coronavirus – it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by it all. But still … as farmers and producers of food, we have to go about our business every day – because we know that that is what it takes to survive.

Most of us cannot stay away from work – because work is where we stay. So, we need to do our best to keep our families and our workers as safe as we possibly can. With all the noise going on about the virus now, please pay careful attention to the advice of the authorities and follow the guidelines carefully so we can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

We also face a new harvest season and we are grateful for the good summer season and the prospect of a good harvest. Grain SA will be focusing very clearly on sustainable and profitable farming going forward. I know how difficult it is for our grain farmers to keep their businesses alive when input prices are so high and grain prices are so low. If we can’t make a sustainable living out of growing crops, then we have to do something different.

Please be assured, Grain SA is there to assist in every way possible. We can only solve the problems that we know about. So, it’s up to each one of us to keep Grain SA informed about what our challenges are. Good luck with the harvest season. My wish is that you enjoy the fruits of your labour this season.

Publication: June 2020

Section: Pula/Imvula