Agri Wes-Kaap Jaarkongres 2019: Landbou Hierna | Agriculture Hereafter

AGRI WES-KAAP JAARKONGRES 2019: LANDBOU HIERNA
Agri Wes-Kaap se Algemene Jaarkongres is verlede week 25 Julie buite Worcester gehou en twee paneelbesprekings het vanjaar deel uitgemaak van die kongres met die tema “Landbou Hierna”. Mnr Ivor Price, bekroonde joernalis en mediapersoonlikheid, het die gesprekke gelei.

Die eerste paneelbespreking het gefokus op Landbou Hierna. Mnr Dave Mohr, ekonoom, het gesê landbou werk in ‘n inherente onstabiele omgewing met omgewings-, ekonomiese- en samelewingsfaktore wat deurentyd verander. Hy het gesê hoewel Suid-Afrika ‘n nuwe landsbestuur het, moet die landbou nie ooroptimisties wees oor wat dit beteken nie. Hy het gesê die Ramaphosa-regering het ‘n groot besef van die belang van die landbou, maar dat staatsinstellings voor in die ry gaan staan as daar uitgedeel gaan word. “Boere moet dit weet,” het hy gesê.

Mnr Roland Henwood, politieke wetenskaplike verbonde aan die Universiteit van Pretoria, het gesê hy is “versigtiger optimisties” oor die politiek. “Baie mense wou hê President Ramaphosa moes na sy verkiesing instap en sê hier trek ons die streep, maar hy baklei met een-en-‘n-halwe hand agter sy rug vasgebind om politieke oorlewing. President Ramaphosa gaan nie uitkom en sê: landbou, kom ons stap die pad saam, nie. Hy gaan dit ook nie vir enige ander sektor in die land sê nie.” Mnr Henwood het gesê wat die gronddebat aanbetref het mnr Ramaphosa die bal vir die oomblik kantlyn toe geskop, maar “die bal sal weer ingegooi word wanneer dit die opportuniste pas”.

Me Doris Viljoen, senior Toekomskundige by die Instituut vir Toekomsnavorsing, het gesê aanduidings is dat daar teen 2030 een-en-‘n-half biljoen mense in Sub-Sahara Afrika gaan wees wat kos iewers gaan moet kry. “Moet asseblief nie ophou boer nie, ons het julle nodig,” het sy gesê. Me Viljoen het gesê verstedeliking gaan geweldige verandering bring, soos stedelike produsente wat tot die landbou-waardeketting gaan toetree. “Dit bied sowel allerhande geleethede as interessante regulatoriese uitdagings. Hoe beheer jy dit byvoorbeeld om doodseker te wees voesel wat iewers op ‘n dak geproduseer is en in die waardeketting beland, is veilig en gesond,” het sy gesê.
Me Shelly Fuller, bewaringslandboukundige verbonde aan die WWF SA, het gesê hoewel landbou op die omgewingsfront vele uitdagings het, is daar uitstekende voorbeelde van hoe dit in die verlede oorkom is. “Ons het ‘n benadering van herstel nodig in die manier hoe ons grond bestuur. Landbou het al die skuif gemaak om meer in lyn met herlewingslandbou te wees. Suid-Afrika het min bewerkbare grond en baie mense om te voer. Die uitdaging is om meer met minder te produseer,” het sy gesê.

Die tweede paneelbespreking het gefokus op die rol van die landbousektor in die landelike gebiede van die Wes-Kaap.

Mnr Johann Kotze, Uitvoerende Hoof van die SA Varkvleisprodusente Organisasie, het gesê buiten dat die Wes-Kaap se landbousektor waardevolle buitelandse valuta vir die land verdien, ontwikkel dit ook die landelike gebiede. “Die Wes-Kaap is goed geposisioneer en bly ‘n fantastiese deel van die wêreld vir internasionale handel. Dit is vir die landbousektor ‘n voorreg om ‘n bydrae tot die landelike gebiede te lewer,” het hy gesê.
Mnr Johann Boonzaaier, produsent en landbou-ekonoom wat vroeër aan die Buro vir Voedsel en Landboubeleid verbonde was, het gesê die Wes-Kaap landbousektor en sy vennote neem gereeld die voortou, soos met die landbousensus wat die Wes-Kaap se Departement van Landbou in 2017 onderneem het. “Die Wes-Kaap landbousektor het ‘n sterk fokus op die behoeftes en verwagtinge van sy vebruikers en poog deurentyd om by ‘n veranderende omgewing aan te pas,” het hy gesê.
Mnr Philip Jonker, produsent van Bonnievale, sê die Wes-Kaap se landbousektor het ‘n sterk fokus op sosiaal-maatskaplike waardetoevoeging en om klein entrepreneurskappe van die grond af te kry. Mnr Jonker het saam met die Bonnievale-gemeenskap en die Wes-Kaap se Onderwysdepartement gehelp om die Jakes Gerwel Tegniese Hoërskool te bou. Op ‘n vraag deur die gespreksleier oor hoekom hy betrokke geraak het, het mnr Jonker gesê “landbouers bou die land en landelike gemeenskappe het game changers nodig”. “Niemand kan dit bekostig om ‘n ongesonde gemeenskap om hulle te hê nie. Daar is genoeg geloof in hierdie saal om berge te versit,” het hy gesê.

Mnr Devin Osborne, hoof van Agronomie by Aerobotics, het gesê landbou gaan in die toekoms slimmer moet dink en slimmer moet boer. Hy sê die Wes-Kaap loop voor in terme van tegnologie op plase en in die opleiding van plaaswerkers om tegnologie te gebruik. “Om plaaswerkers te vertrou en tegnologies op te lei, is ‘n wen-wen. Dit bemagtig hulle en gee vir hulle vaardighede wat hulle kan ontwikkel en aan hulle kinders kan oordra,” het hy gesê.
Me Sarie Nell, oud-maatskaplike werker wat navorsing gedoen het oor die uitwerking van die droogte op landbouers se vroue, het van haar bevindinge met die kongres gedeel. “Ek het geleer dapper mense met karakter is moeg. Mans en vroue sukkel om die uitwerking van die droogte te oorkom. Hulle is in hulle koppe besig met ‘n proses en moet leer om aan te pas, maar niks gaan ooit weer sorgvry wees nie. Daar is min sielkundige dienste op die platteland. Ons moet ons opskerp oor wat die tekens is van mense wat depressief is. Luister sonder oordeel. Die fisiese en emosionele uitwerking van die droogte op landbouers en hulle vroue kan nie misgekyk word nie,” het sy gesê.
In sy groeteboodskap aan die kongres het mnr Dan Kriek, President van Agri SA, na die grondverslag verwys. “Wanneer die verslag bekend gemaak gaan word, gaan mense moet pa staan vir wat hulle gesê het. Mense gaan moet verduidelik hoekom hulle lynreg teen regsadvies steeds die wysiging van die grondwet aanbeveel,” het mnr Kriek gesê.

AGRI WESTERN CAPE ANNUAL CONGRESS 2019: ‘AGRICULTURE HEREAFTER’
Agri Western Cape hosted it general annual congress last week on 25 July outside Worcester. This year the congress included two panel discussions around the theme ‘Agriculture hereafter’. Mr Ivor Price, award-winning journalist and media personality, led the discussions.

The first panel discussion focused on Agriculture Hereafter. The economist, Mr Dave Mohr, said agriculture functions within an inherently unstable environment, with environmental, economic and societal factors that are constantly changing. He said although South Africa has a new administration, agriculture should not be over-optimistic about what this entails. He said the Ramaphosa government was fully cognisant of the importance of agriculture, yet state institutions are first in the queue when it comes of budget allocations. ‘Farmers must be aware of this,’ he said.

Mr Roland Henwood, political scientist at the University of Pretoria, said he was ‘cautiously optimistic’. ‘After the election, many people wanted President Ramaphosa to step in and declare ‘here we draw the the line’, but he is fighting for political survival, with one and a half hands tied behind his back. ‘President Ramaphosa will not come out and say to agriculture: Let’s join forces. He will also not say it to any other sector in the country.’ With regard to the land debate, Mr Henwood said Ramaphosa has for the moment kicked the ball to the curb, but ‘the ball will be thrown in again when it suits the opportunists’.

Ms Doris Viljoen, senior Futurist at the Institute for Future Research, said indications were that there will be one and a half billion people living in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2030 – all of whom will need to find food somewhere. ‘Please don’t stop farming; we need you,’ she said. Ms Viljoen said urbanisation will probably be accompanied by massive change, for example urban producers entering the agricultural value chain. ‘This presents all kinds of opportunities as well as interesting regulatory challenges. For example, how do you regulate it to ensure that food produced somewhere on someone’s roof and ends up in the value chain is safe and healthy?’
Ms Shelly Fuller, conservation agriculturist at WWF SA, said although agriculture faces many challenges on the environmental front, there are also excellent examples of how these had been overcome in the past. ‘We need to follow a restorative approach to how we manage land. The sector has already made the shift to become more aligned to regenerative agriculture. South Africa has very limited arable land and many people to feed. The challenge is to produce more with less,’ she said.

The second panel discussion focused on the role of the agricultural sector in rural areas of the Western Cape.

Mr Johann Kotze, Chief Executive of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation, said besides the fact that the Western Cape’s agricultural sector earns valuable foreign currency for the country, it is also developing the rural areas. ‘The Western Cape is well positioned and remains a fantastic part of the world for international trade. It is a privilege for the agricultural sector to make a contribution to rural areas,’ he said.

Mr Johann Boonzaaier, producer and agricultural economist who had earlier worked at the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, said the Western Cape’s agricultural sector and its partners regularly assume the lead, as was the case during the agricultural census conducted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in 2017. ‘The Western Cape’s agricultural sector focuses strongly on the needs and expectations of its consumers and tries to continuously adapt to the changing environment,’ he said.

Mr Philip Jonker, a producer from Bonnievale, said Agri Western Cape’s agricultural sector also focuses strongly on adding value through social upliftment and support for small businesses. Mr Jonker, together with the Bonnievale community and the Western Cape Department of Education, has assisted in building the Jakes Gerwel Technical High School. In response to a question from the discussion leader as to why he had become involved, Mr Jonker said: ‘Farmers build the land, and rural communities need game changers. No one can afford to be surrounded by an unhealthy community. There is enough faith in this room to move mountains.’

Mr Devin Osborne, head of Agronomics at Aerobotics, said agriculture will have to think and farm more innovatively in future. He said the Western Cape was leading in terms of technology on farms and the training of farm workers to use technology. ‘To trust and provide farm workers with training in technology is a win-win situation. It empowers them by them skills that they can develop further and pass on to their children,’ he said.

Ms Sarie Nell, former social worker who conducted research on the impact of drought on farmers’ wives, shared her findings with the congress. ‘I learned that brave people with character are tired. Men and women are struggling to survive the impact of the drought. They are busy with a process in their heads and have to learn to adapt but will never be carefree again. Psychological help is limited in rural areas. We have to be alert to signs of depression. Listen without judging. The physical and emotional effect of the drought on farmers and their wives cannot be ignored,’ she said.

In his message to congress, Mr Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA, referred to the land report: ‘When the report is released, people will be held accountable for what they said. People will have to explain why they recommended the amendment of the Constitution directly against the legal advice they received,’ said Mr Kriek.

During the congress. Mr Cornie Swart of Gansbaai and Mr Hugo de Waal of Eendekuil were re-elected as Agri Western Cape’s President and Vice President respectively.

Tydens die kongres is mnr Cornie Swart van Gansbaai en mnr Hugo de Waal van Eendekuil onderskeidelik as President en Vise-president van Agri Wes-Kaap herkies.

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