Senwes Scenario April / Mei 2015 - Page 74

N AMPO ••• DISCOURSE CAN LEAD TO solutions in agriculture “IT IS ONLY GRAIN PRODUCERS THAT STAND BETWEEN LOAD SHEDDING AND FOOD SHEDDING. NATION IN CONVERSATION CONTRIBUTES IN FINDING SOLUTIONS VIA CONVERSATION AND THIS HELP US TO PREVENT A FOOD CRISIS...” THESE ARE THE WORDS OF JANNIE DE VILLIERS (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: GRAIN SA). GRAIN SA ENDORSES THIS NATIONAL PROGRAMME AND SENWES DRIVEN INITIATIVE WHICH STIMULATES DEBATE IN THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR. T here is no doubt that South Africa’s agricultural industry is under pressure. High economic and political demands are being placed on food producers to transform and find a different approach to agricultural practices, production activities, ownership and utilisation of land and resources; and to continue to ensure food security, and the health and wellness of the nation. A united and collective effort is required to ring in the changes. Agricultural producers do not operate in isolation. They form part of the great tapestry of our nation and play an essential role to ensure the country’s stability and economic growth through food production. The fate of these producers is inextricably linked to every aspect of society. With urbanisation the ordinary citizen lost touch with the realities of food production and agricultural matters. These were shifted to the background where it was seldom considered important by the consumer. However, the stability of the agricultural sector impacts on the livelihood of the entire population and the national debate around these issues should be considered much more widely than just amongst those with a direct economic or political interest in agriculture. It is for this reason that key role players under the leadership of Senwes, launched the Nation in Conversation dialogue platform in 2013 at the Nampo Harvest Day in Bothaville. Nation in Conversation draws thought leaders from various affiliations, political backgrounds and the business sector together at a single venue to discuss and debate agricultural matters. “It is in our joint interest to ensure that our agricultural industry remains secure and stable, that we seek consensus to overcome the many challenges facing agriculture today and work together towards a sustainable future,” explains Francois Strydom, (Managing Director: Senwes). “The future of agriculture and the welfare of our country are intertwined and can only be secured through progressive action, finding mutual ground and establishing partnerships between commercial farmers, civil society and the State”. “Nampo Harvest Day, presented by Grain SA, provides the ideal platform to host these conversations,” explains Strydom. This well-known trade show runs over four days from 12 – 15 May and has established itself in the Southern African region as the top gathering place for all stakeholders in the agricultural sector, including commercial and emerging farmers, civil servants, corporate businesses and aligned industries. Nampo helps to provide agricultural producers with the knowledge and skills to handle the many technical, economic and political challenges they face. The growing interest from foreign companies in Nampo also serves to confirm the international interest in Africa as a food producer, and particularly South Africa as a portal to the rest of the continent. This year, Nation in Conversation aims to give issues such as food security and land reform a broader platform to help ensure that food production and job creation are not compromised when new approaches to agriculture are adopted. “We wish to ensure the debate is inclusive and far reaching and that broader media platforms will be included in the discussions to reach SENWES Scenario • April/Mei 2015 9