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A word from… Jacques Roux (mentor)

August 2022

The 2021/2022 planting season will be remembered as one of the most difficult planting seasons yet. With good rain being forecast, it initially looked as if this would be another record season. Everything was ready for planting to begin, but then the big rain came that caught everyone off-guard.

Tractors would just start the day’s work when the rain drops would start falling. Farmers would wait for the fields to dry up, with planters loaded with the most expensive fertiliser in history, and as soon as the work began, the rain would be there too. It carried on like this for almost two months, with water everywhere.

Because farmers have to provide food for the country, they could not give up – they just had to get up and replant. Where lands were inaccessible, farmers had to make a plan and planted using hand planters. The back sprayer was used to go where the tractor and sprayer could not. As the rain washed away the maize’s nutrients, fertiliser was applied with a bag on the farmer’s back.

In April, the soybeans and maize looked promising, but there were parts where the beans were struggling due to the excess rain. As the sunflower plantings were late, farmers were hoping that the cold would be late too. In general, the crops were growing and it looked as if a good harvest (good tonnage) would be realised.

‘The tons and the price are looking good. I will have a good harvest this year,’ said one of the farmers. When talking about his money matters, he shared that he wanted to clear his debt at the bank and at SACTA (SA Cultivar & Technology Agency). ‘I am looking for help again next year, Nthathe Roux. If I do not pay, you will not help me again. My name is going to be clean. The farmers in the programme all have to pay their debt first – they can. Just tell them: Pay back the money!’ he laughed.

Publication: August 2022

Section: Pula/Imvula