Senwes Scenario April / Mei 2015 - Page 27

NEWS JD helps TO FEED THE NATION DUE TO THE HIGH DEMAND FOR FOOD IN SOUTH AFRICA JOHN DEERE IS CURRENTLY SUPPORTING SMALL HOLDER AND SUBSISTENCE FARMERS TO INCREASE THEIR YIELDS BY GIVING THEM ACCESS TO MECHANISATION. NICOLIZE VAN DER WALT B y doing this John Deere helps these farmers to execute more appropriate farming practices. In cooperation with Batho Pele they have developed learning and skills programmes to educate the emerging farmers. The challenge was to convince the small holder farmers to change the way they work the land to produce crops. Illiteracy, the lack of resources and infrastructure were challenges in developing these programmes. Because banks are hesitant to lend to small holder farmers, financial solutions for the implements was another challenge. However, this was successfully addressed with the cooperation from Afgri Zambia. From there on the project grew and more and more farmers had access to these training programmes which includes subjects like farm management, crop production, mechanisation, setting up a business, manage finances, marketing and customer care, basic agronomy, planting practices, soil preparation practices and spraying. Two emerging contractors, Zandisele Dandala en Unhathi Mgugudo recently told Scenario how they can now produce crops on behalf of the government (due to a contract) and still feed their communities. Government gives them a marketplace, but also carries the risk of the harvest. In this manner, thanks to John Deere these farmers can contribute to food security and live out their passion for agriculture. •••