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April 2018

I may not be where I want to be but I'm thankful for not being where I used to be – Habeeb Akande.

This Pula Imvula has a quote about being thankful, displaying gratitude in our daily lives. As we move through life, we are always looking forward to the next event, the next season, the next Christmas, the next year. We seldom stop to reflect on the progress that we have made so far.

Our development programme has been working for quite a few years now, and in the judging of the different categories of the Farmer of the Year competition, I stopped to reflect on where we were and where we are now – the change is huge! We used to be happy if we found a farmer whose lands were clean of weeds and where the plant population was good.

Now that is the norm – from the New Era Commercial farmers all the way to the Subsistence farmers – we have to look deeper now to find the winners as farmers know about weed control, fertilisation, plant population, GMO’s and Roundup – we have to look at other factors so that we can differentiate between the good farmers and the excellent farmers. I am thankful that although we might not be where we want to be, we are not where we used to be!

Recently there has been the scare of Fall Army Worm again. I was reminded of the session that we attended at the Human Rights Commission last year where we defended the use of GMO’s. How ironic that so many people are against GMO’s, however, the farmers that did not plant the BT maize this year are likely to lose their crop to the Fall Army Worm (unless they are very diligent with their spray programme).

I am proud to say that we are showing our farmers to use the modern technology that is available to the commercial farmers – our farmers in the Jobs fund programme will not have to spray for the Fall Army Worm this year because their maize is protected by the genetic modification of the maize plants. Thank you, Monsanto, for making it possible for our farmers to get a harvest in spite of the pests. As Mavis Hlatswayo from Hereford said: ‘No one in our valley will be hungry’ – that is thanks to modern technology and modern production practices.

Next month will be NAMPO – the huge agricultural show in Bothaville. Each year the show is bigger and there is more to see. If you possibly can, try to attend the show so that you can be aware of the most modern equipment, seeds, fertilisers etc. You will not be disappointed. The team of the development programme will be at the show – come and find us in the Grain SA members hall – we will be delighted to talk to you and show you things that might interest you. 

Publication: April 2018

Section: Pula/Imvula