Nkgono Jane says...
We have spent the last week at the NAMPO Harvest Day – the place where farmers go to see everything new and exciting for the farm. It was wonderful to be visited by so many farmers from our programme. Thank you for taking the trouble to come and see us and have a chat – we love seeing you and hearing about your progress.
Those of you who managed to plant a crop will be harvesting soon. Some might be disappointed in the yields – try to remember the extreme heat and dry conditions that your crops experienced this past summer. It is amazing that anyone has a harvest at all! Fortunately farmers are very positive people and most are looking forward to the next crop – we must keep going forward so that our country can have food. Thank you for being willing to work hard and take huge risks – you are wonderful citizens of South Africa. Luckily the frost is late this year and so even the crops that were planted too late will make a small crop.
The farmers in the Jobs Fund will soon be making their deposits for the next season. It is so important for you to remember that we are trying to help you to make the most of the land you have available. We want you to make a bigger contribution towards the costs of the inputs so that by the end of the project you are able to pay the full commercial price for inputs as you will be harvesting a fully commercial yield. Our country needs you to pay for your inputs so that after a few years, our sector will not need to depend on the government for grants – as farmers we are proudly independent people who are proud to work hard to make an honest living.
We recently visited all the farmers who are part of the Farmer of the Year Competition this year. Wow! We saw beautiful crops, inspired farmers, well cared for land – I realised again that there is hope for the agricultural sector. There are farmers who will harvest 9 tons of maize from the 1 ha they planted by hand! What a supreme effort – they did all the right things and worked hard and they are to be rewarded. Once again however, we realised that we are going to have to encourage more younger people to become farmers – yes, it is hard work, but the rewards are great.
We will be thinking about you all during this harvesting period – for those who have a good crop, enjoy it! For those who do not have a crop – be comforted that there is another season waiting for you.
Publication: June 2016