ECONOMIST AT GRAIN SA
The Grain SA imbizo is a programme aimed at empowering producers who have graduated from the farmer development programme into the commercial arena. It aims to equip them with advanced skills to navigate their way in the commercial environment. These producers expressed a need to understand how maize grading works.
As a result of lockdown regulations it had not been possible for the Imbizo to take place during 2020/2021. It was therefore very exciting to get the project kick-started again in September 2021. The following places were visited:
Kokstad (Eastern Cape) – 2 September
Ermelo (Mpumalanga) – 9 September
Dundee (KwaZulu-Natal) – 16 September
Lichtenburg (North West) – 23 September
Bethlehem (Free State) – 30 September
The target audience was the commercial and potential commercial producers. More than 50 producers attended the training. The maize grading training was conducted in collaboration with the South African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) and Afgri silos, with a tailor-made course specifically for the Imbizo.
For Kokstad and Lichtenburg, the training was a hybrid, where farmers attended physically and the facilitators from SAGL were online. The SAGL put together manuals and samples for the producers so that they could get practical experience and the theory behind the grading.
For Ermelo, Dundee and Bethlehem, farmers were trained at Afgri silos and went through the process practically. The training was a great success. Producers were very pleased and expressed that the training is invaluable to their businesses.
GRAIN SA’S FOOTPRINT IN LIMPOPO
On 4 October 2021, Grain SA also hosted an information day for Limpopo producers (see Pula Imvula January 2022). More than 150 producers showed up from different parts of the province for the meeting, with so much excitement and zeal. The esteemed guests included the local chief, delegates from the provincial Department of Agriculture, input suppliers and Grain SA staff members. The purpose of the day was to inform farmers more about Grain SA and its functions and to foster relationships among different stakeholders that service the producers.
Among all speakers the common thread of working together and consolidating efforts was emphasized. The programme for the day included:
A presentation by the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, where they discussed funding opportunities (farmer support programme).
The farmers got to meet Dr Sandile Ngcamphalala, the Farmer Development manager, who discussed the future of the programme and the plans going forward.
Patricia Zimu further discussed the marketing of Grain SA and the overall functions of the organisation.
Ikageng Maluleke discussed the importance of the economy on the producers and different aspects covered by Grain SA in the Applied Economy and Member Services department.
A representative from Bayer discussed available seed cultivars for the season.
The involvement of Grain SA has helped the Limpopo members to uplift their standard of living by ensuring food security and creating job opportunities. The problem of hunger is being addressed.
This day was a great success and producers are excited about the planting season and looking forward to learning more through the programme.