Mr Graeme Whyte from Green Farms Nut Company are actively involved in transformation. Funding sourced from the EU, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Green Farms Nut Company helped the cooperative to establish 114ha of macadamia by 14 growers. Further support from SAMAC enabled these growers to get knap sack sprayers, chemicals and pruning equipment. Graeme provided the audience with a brief presentation on the achievements over the past season.
With more than 5 years of experience in sourcing funding for transformation projects and with recent and relevant research at hand, Mr Niel van Zijl from Agropro discussed the dynamics of funding partnerships.
Ms Nomvula Xaba transformation manager from Potatoes SA unpacked what transformation entails for the potato industry. To understand the successes achieved Nomvula explained that the background and realities of the industry are important. The transformation programme at Potatoes SA includes enterprise development by financial means, small grower development through mentorship, farm based training and tertiary skills development to create a knowledge pipeline. By create a culture of investing back into their farms, small holders stand a better chance of becoming commercial farmers.
Mr Tseke Morathi shared his lessons learnt over almost three decades. Challenges which included land availability, technical support in “doing the right thing first time right” quoted from Mr Dries Alberts was overcome. The first step in Tseke’s success story was commitment. Commitment to the land, financial commitment and investment in your own skills. Focus points highlighted was a clear strategy (with sound planning), execution discipline and a healthy decision-making process. “Do your business plan yourself”, said Mr Morathi. Learn from others and build business relationships with his employees.
Mr Siswe Magagula chaired the opening session and in the “Transformation in Action” session he enlightened us on the perceptions of agri-business. We are fortunate to farm in a country with endless opportunities. He shared stories of success through the transformation involvements of Westfalia.
Mr Howard Blight told us about virtual agricultural colleges and brought the message of hope.
Bridging the gap between government and industry by Ms Imameling Mothebe from DTI responsible for agroprocessing.
WESTFALIA-ALBERT HEIN-VENDA AVOCADO GROWERS PROJECT – Don Westcott