Local seed company Seed Co’s thought leadership initiatives recently saw 30 farmers being flown to South Africa to join about 80 000 agriculture stakeholders across the globe at the Nampo Park Exhibition Site, Bothaville, Free State.
By Our Correspondent
The Nampo Expo is one of the largest exhibitions in the world, which draws more than 700 exhibitors spread on a 24-hectare space, covering a wide range of agricultural and related industries.
Speaking at the sending-off ceremony in Harare, before departure of the 30 farmers, Seed Co MD-southern Africa Dennias Zaranyika spoke highly of the Nampo Expo.
“We see farmers as economic partners that we support through provision of world-class seed varieties and extension support because of our strong conviction that when farmers’ productivity and businesses grow, our business grows too,” he said.
“We believe the right balance of varieties and extension support are two fundamental keys to farmers’ profit equation and agriculture growth.”
Zaranyika said every year Seed Co arranged trips to countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Brazil, among others.
This year’s Nampo Expo — a four-day event — was held under the theme Efficiency with Technology and was organised by Grain South Africa.
Nampo is a unique opportunity to manufacturers and distributors of agricultural machinery, products and services to exhibit and demonstrate a vast range of products to targeted customers.
Interactive tractor and implement demonstrations were a unique feature of the show, which allowed farmers to view demonstrations of a wide range of machinery and implements.
“This year, Seed Co felt Nampo was the best place to visit as the farmers would be able to observe various machinery and equipment being demonstrated,” Zaranyika said.
“We feel the tour offered farmers a unique platform to network with the agricultural industry’s top players, strengthened friendships and relationships in a true business environment.”
Agriculture trade and investment companies from Israel, Poland, England, America, Argentina, India, France, Italy, Denmark, China, Turkey and Russia participated at the Nampo Expo.
Seed Co agronomy and extension services manager John Basera, who was part of the touring team, said: “Increasing productivity reduces the cost of production and maximises profitability and value wedge at farm level. This will also have ripple effects on the cost of production on the downstream side of the agriculture and food value chain”.
Speaking at a dinner hosted by Seed Co in Sandton, South Africa, after the Nampo Expo, Zaranyika indicated that the major reason of participating in such expos was to help farmers in “catching up”.
“This tour is indeed another Seed Co way of contributing to farmer and national productivity towards meeting industry and consumption needs as well as tradable surplus,” he said.
“We believe embracing technology is another important step in reclaiming sustainable food production and the food basket status of southern Africa and indeed it can be done. This certainly will augment what the government is doing in promoting growth in agriculture.”
At the expo, farmers were exposed to irrigation equipment, which optimises efficiency with chemigation and fertigation provisions. The thrust on irrigation technology development has been the use of water efficiently and minimise cost of system maintenance, save power and reduce costs.
Farmers also got to understand that satellite-controlled farming machinery was the new trend in adopting precision farming, which optimises productivity levels and margins.
The country’s grain and seed drying thrust would benefit immensely from knowledge gained by the farmers who were part of the expo.
“Carefully chosen machinery can allow crops to be grown and harvested with minimum-to-no soil disturbance, ensure that the soil surface remains intact and protected by organic cover, manage crop rotations to enhance soil health and conserve crop nutrients and moisture but ultimately enhance crop productivity,” said Basera.
Some of the farmers who travelled to South Africa for the expo said they gained a lot by attending the four-day exhibition.
Karoi farmer Henk Terblanche said he learnt a lot at Nampo’s Harvest Day.
“This trip was most effective and informative. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you, other farmers and leaders in mechanisation,” Terblanche said.
His sentiments were echoed by Arcturus farmer Tawanda Garwe who said: “Many thanks to Seed Co for this insightful trip.
“We learnt a lot from Nampo exhibitions to take back with us and it has been great to swap notes with some of the other leading regional and international farmers.”