Wednesday

April 17, 2024

Landbouweekblad Conference – Feedback

Agri Eastern Cape attended the Landbouweekblad conference over two days in Bothaville, Free State.

The theme "Oplossings vir Suid Afrika se Platteland" aims to bring communities together from all over the country to share their stories on their solutions to the adversities we face in the platteland every day. The conference is an example of HOPE.

There were about 77 speakers sharing stories of success, this makes one realize that there are still people who believe in South Africa and that we should rather try make a difference than run away. People from the platteland have to stick together and carry on producing the best products they possibly can, to restore the confidence of citizens. In order to restore confidence in this country, we have to all wake up and do something meaningful.

Local government and municipal services have expired and has been taken over by corruption and crime. Thus, it has been left to the communities to foresee these duties. Instead of waiting around for the government to deliver their services, we have to take initiative and find practical solutions.

EXAMPLES OF HOPE

Senwes, started an empowerment program, Thobo Trust, to build a school for children from poorer communities to teach them to farm, encourage them to do their best and create a stronger community. Since this school was built, the crime in the area was reduced and many jobs created. This initiative has had a huge impact on the agricultural sector and food security. Senwes has invested in agriculture and wants to make a difference, with the help of the communities.

The RSA group and ZZR established a street market for upcoming farmers to create a platform to showcase their products. The Mooketsi-street market reformed the local agricultural landscape by favouring products from small scale farmers. This offers a market for their products as well as improving aspects such as, packaging, sorting and grading. The success of the market creates job opportunities and plays an important role in the national fresh produce market. By prioritizing quality and consistency, the existence of local farmers and food security is strengthened.

Future Farmers was brought to life to encourage matriculants with the passion to farm to learn more about agriculture. The goal of the program is to encourage as many farmers as possible who are willing to train future farmers to become part of the project. These future farmers get the chance to work overseas, and boost transformation in agriculture. The entries for future farmers are overflowing, but there just aren't enough farmers to host these entries.

BPG Langfontein and Vodacom collaborated to transform Wakkerstroom into South Africa's first smart phone town. The town had little to no reception, and they relied on two-way radios for communication. The "Smart Phone Only Town" program provided farm workers with 3G devices which opened up Internet opportunities, allowed access to educational resources and grandparents were able to video chat with their grandkids for the first time. This project has had a huge impact on the town with regards to safety, security and crime prevention.

Prieska medical centre is a private clinic which was opened after a terrible accident occurred in the town and the patient only survived thanks to a retired doctor. The clinic is run by a young talented doctor and conveniently has a pharmacy right next door. The clinic treats patients with and without medical insurance and also offers the services of an optometrist and occupational therapist. A small theater and hospital hall ensures serious medical conditions to be treated.

Betereinders is a movement born out of love for South Africa and its people. Their aim is to fix potholes, train future farmers and facilitate racial conflict. In South Africa nothing works, but everything matters. These types of attitudes save the country. Rather look at yourself first before pointing the finger at others. You might not be able to save South Africa's infrastructure, but you can fix the potholes on your road. You can't solve the racial conflict in the country, but you can create friendships with people of other colour.

Agri Eastern Cape launched the Agri Ops Coordination Centre orchestrating collaboration among farmers, security firms and law enforcement for enhanced safety. Agri EC focuses on 3 key elements, community engagement, cutting-edge technology and robust infrastructure. Organisations like Agri EC provide a support framework to build safer communities. The comprehensive CCTV network spread across the Eastern Cape resolved many incidents so far and data indicates a reduction in crime. Agri EC works together with SAPS, private security companies and civilians to ensure the best possible safety. With a 24-hour monitoring system, crime is detected before harm is done.

The platteland is where you live, build and work. In order to make a difference and create a successful platteland, you must have HOPE. Without farmers there can't be a South Africa, but without a community there can't be farmers.

We have to believe in OUR community, OUR land, OUR people, OUR products and OUR platteland!

Instead of running away from the problems in this country, lets rather face the brutal facts, work together and make a difference.

We would like to thank Lanboudweekblad & Senwes for hosting this incredible conference.