Senwes Scenario April / Mei 2015 - Page 73

••• N A MPO and engage a wide audience. It is not merely a debate between people already involved in this sector. Nation in Conversation goes beyond agriculture. It is about you, and me, and our future together,” says Strydom. Training and developing new entrants to agriculture, mentorship programmes and incentive schemes are some of the issues to be considered. Land reform and ownership remains a contentious issue. It is widely accepted that land ownership and the utilisation of land should be viewed in a different way. While it is undeniable that the issue of access to land has to be addressed, this should not happen at the loss of food production. This is a cost the country can ill afford. In order to facilitate the process of transformation without undue compromise, Nation in Conversation believes it is essential to create a platform where different mindsets can engage to find common ground. The severe pressure that is 10 currently being placed on our natural resources and the scarcity thereof will also come under the spotlight. Combined efforts have to be made to address these threats and adopt more eco-friendly farming practices to provide for a secure future. New business models have to be investigated to ensure lasting agricultural production. This also brings the matter of the integration of technology in agriculture to the fore. New technology, although initially expensive, can help tremendously to bring the cost of production down in the long run and underscores the competitiveness of the South African farmer in a world market. “South African farmers are widely considered as early adopters of technology. It is, however, essential that we find ways of extending our reach further through the creation of a technological “hub” in agriculture,” says Strydom. Nation in Conversation will host daily panel discussions in English and Afrikaans in front of a live studio audience at Nampo. These debates, hosted by economist and television anchor Theo Vorster, will be broadcast on various television screens placed throughout the venue and on different media platforms. “We hop H