Nampo delegates dole out advice
Lindi van Rooyen
Increasing efficiency and minimising costs are age-old issues in agriculture, but solutions change with the times. At the Nampo Harvest Day this year there was no shortage of answers.
Johannes Möller, president of Agri SA, said that agricultural value chains needed to be protected because if one link fails then the whole chain fails.
"From 2000 to 2010 Zimbabwe's commercial agricultural production decreased with 72 percent. During the same time production from emerging farmers decreased with 73 percent. This shows that if you harm one section of the value chain, everything is harmed."
Meanwhile, Hans van der Merwe, Executive Director of Agri SA, said that there are structural changes that will take place over the next few years in agriculture and that only those willing to change will survive and make money.
"In ten years we can expect to see a different kind of farm. There will be shared ownership in far bigger farms with owners effectively being managers working for bigger companies. We will eventually get to a point where 1 000 farmers will produce 70 percent of the food."
"There are many different models for shared ownership and each farmer needs to find what suits them, because it is make or break time."
Delivering good news van der Merwe said that globally there is a rainbow in agriculture.
"In five years net farm income has increased from R34 billion to R51 billion. The income received from agricultural products has increased and the broader picture looks positive. I know that it is not going well with every farmer, but net farm income is growing."
Monsanto and ABSA entertained the media at Nampo. From left - Thea Liebenberg of Agri SA, Lindi van Rooyen of Farmer’s Weekly, Susan Botes of Veeplaas and Alani Janeke of Landbou.com.
From left - Kobus Steenekamp, Business Manager Monsanto SA, Thea Liebenberg, Agri SA, Francois Smit, ABSA Agribusiness, Bennie Bester, Commercial Manager Monsanto SA and Gert Heyns, Marketing Manager Monsanto SA.
Participants selected for 2013 Young Leaders award
Nico van Burick and Lindi van Rooyen
Alita van der Walt
Alita van der Walt, editor of Farmer's Weekly, will be jetting off to Argentina in September as a winner of the Alltech and International Federation of Agricultural Journalists' (IFAJ) Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award.
She is one of 10 people chosen from 31 countries who will attend the IFAJ congress in Argentina as part of her prize. The young leaders will also attend an intensive journalistic boot camp-style workshop. This year's boot camp takes place August 30-31, prior to the IFAJ congress.
As editor of South Africa's oldest magazine, Alita manages a staff of 34 full time employees. She said that the IFAJ's annual conference presents a unique opportunity to interact with agricultural writers from across the globe.
"South Africa's media and agricultural industry has to function within an international arena and the conference promises to provide an in-depth perspective into both these industries. I'm very grateful to the Agricultural Writers Association of South Africa for nominating me for this award."
Van der Walt has also been named one of the Top 40 under 40 in Media Magazine's annual roundup of leaders under 40 in the media industry.
Nearly 200 people were nominated for the award and the final list consists of people working in the media who are deemed to be making a difference in the industry.
The judges saluted van der Walt for continuously increasing the magazine'scirculation and advertising revenue since she took over in 2011.
The successful applicants for 2013' Alltech/IFAJ awards are -
Jennifer M. Latzke, professional agricultural journalist, High Plains Journal (United States of America)
Frida Jonson, web editor, ATL (Sweden)
Carla Wiese-Smith, livestock editor, The Land (Australia)
Kim Waalderbos, freelance farm writer and farmer (Canada)
Darren Carty, livestock specialist, Irish Farmers Journal (Ireland)
Rouven Zietz, editor of JOULE, renewable energy magazine (Germany)
Tienke Wouda, editor of Nieuwe Oogst, magazine of Dutch Farmers Union (Netherlands)
Jyotika Sood, editor of magazine Down to Earth (India)
Alita van der Walt, editor of Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)
Alona Novichkova, TV journalist (Ukraine)
Candidates were nominated by their respective agricultural journalism guilds. Previous South African winners include Gavin Grobbelaar, Susan Botes, Liza Bohlman, Lloyd Phillips and Lindi van Rooyen.
The selection process consists of points for a written submission, judges' impression of the candidates' leadership potential, their proven leadership abilities and a narrative explaining their interest in the young leaders' programme.
The judges for the 2013 competition were IFAJ executive members Marianne Mork of Norway, Jacques van Outryve of Belgium and Antonio Brunori of Italy. Competition coordinator is Riitta Mustonen, IFAJ Secretary General.
"This award exists already for the 8th year thanks to the vision, generosity and constant support of Alltech, particularly its emphasis on youth development," says Mustonen.
Almost seventy young journalists have already got the chance to strengthen their skills and expand their global network through this awesome program sponsored by Alltech. Founded in 1980 by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech improves the health and performance of animals, plants and people through natural nutrition and scientific innovation. The company has more than 3 000 employees in 128 countries.
Whites will also benefit in new land bill
Louise Flanagan IOL News
The land claims process which closed 14 years ago is being reopened, and the new process is to include pre-1913 evictions.
The land claims process which closed 14 years ago is being reopened, with a new deadline for claims of 2018.
If the new law is passed, it would allow those who missed the first deadline to claim, and open the door to new claims from those dispossessed by "homeland" betterment schemes - including white people - to put in claims that were previously refused.
The draft Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill published for public comment last week sets the land claims deadline as 31 December 2018.
The previous cut-off date was 31 December 1998.
The land claims process was for those who were dispossessed of a land right after 13 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices, who were not paid just or equitable compensation. Restitution took the form of land, compensation or other assistance with access to resources.
An explanatory memo attached to the draft bill says the previous restitution programme had "a number of problems", and certain categories of people, who lost their rights due to colonial and apartheid laws, had been excluded from the restitution process.
Three categories of exclusions were identified: those who could not lodge claims before the December 1998 cut-off date; those dispossessed before 1913; and those who were dispossessed through betterment planning schemes but were not allowed to lodge claims by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.
This week, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform said the new process would also allow claims for dispossessions from before 1913.
Pre-1913 claims are expected to be mainly from Khoi and San people, said department spokesman Mtobeli Mxotwa.
The draft law does not contain the extension to pre-1913, but the explanatory memo notes that this date is set in the constitution.
This means such an extension will require a constitutional amendment.
"Research is being done to determine the exact scope and quantity of such excluded persons dispossessed before 1913.
"The dispossessions of land before 19 June 1913 as a result of state action will be dealt with separately," said the memo.
The big category of potential claims is those affected by the homeland betterment schemes, which involved the internal removal of people to consolidate communities or homeland borders or regulate land use.
"It is estimated that at least 3,5 million people were forcibly removed from their land as a result of colonisation and apartheid laws implemented after 19 June 1913 in the post-Second World War period.
It has been argued that this figure excludes dispossessions that were caused by betterment planning," said the memo.
Previously such claims were not processed, as it was assumed that they would be dealt with in another process.
"When dispossessions that took place as a result of betterment planning and homeland consolidations (which have resulted in claims by whites) are taken into account, the figure could be closer to 7,5 million, while less than 80 000 claims for restitution were lodged before the cut-off date of 31 December 1998," said the memo.
The department says it is expecting "an avalanche" of new claims.
The draft bill also intends to amend sections of law around the appointment, tenure, remuneration and terms of service of the judges of the Land Claims Court.
Comments on the draft bill are due by 23 June 2013.
National aquaculture policy framework approved
Cabinet has approved the national aquaculture policy framework, says acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.
"This policy provides a unified framework for the establishment and development of an industry that contributes towards sustainable job creation and increased investment."
The framework was developed against the backdrop of a global aquaculture sector that has seen an increased demand for fishery products.
"In South Africa marine and freshwater aquaculture presents a good opportunity to diversify fish production to satisfy local demand, contribute to food security, job creation, economic development and rural development and export opportunities.
"Cabinet has also approved South Africa to host the Third Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in the fourth quarter of 2013, led by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
"The conference aims to develop forms of growth that are socially and environmentally sustainable.
"Food security remains a major concern for poor people and the conference will have positive implications for how the country produces, manages and utilises food," said Williams.
Since COP17 South Africa has been a leading country in promoting climate smart agriculture, which responds to the challenges of food security and climate change.
Germany a crucial agricultural investor for SA
Germany remains an important agricultural investment partner for South Africa, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
"Germany is quite important to the South African agricultural industry because the European Union has been our traditional market for much of our agricultural commodities.
"Germany remains an important technical and agricultural investment partner for South Africa.
"We've had a very good trade relationship with Germany, and I think Germany has assisted us to a great degree to maintain and increase market access to other countries in the EU.
"Some of the challenges faced by South Africa with regard to citrus exports to the EU are Citrus Black Spot, a fungal disease caused by Guignardia citricarpa. It affects citrus plants throughout subtropical climates, causing a reduction in both fruit quantity and quality. These need to be addressed as 40 percent of our citrus exports that go to the EU are actually destined for the German market."
Joemat-Pettersson says the Germans are the biggest trading partner for South Africa's citrus in the off-season of EU producers such as Spain, Italy and Greece.
South Africa exports fresh citrus fruit annually to the EU, with a value close to R3 billion.
South Africa mainly exports wines, paper and processed fruits and vegetables, including fresh grapes and other products, to Germany.
As part of the trade partnership between the two countries, South Africa is looking at an agreement for the protection of Geographical Indications with regard to agricultural products such as cheese, meat products and olive oil. The EU has a well-developed protection system. South Africa has just started with products like Rooibos and honeybush tea.
To date, Germany and South Africa have signed a declaration of intent to cooperate in the fields of industrial development, an agreement for the development of advisory services in Limpopo, a cooperation agreement for veterinary affairs and a declaration of intent on cooperation for vocational training.
- Nominations for Farmer, Agriculturist and New Entrant to Commercial Farming must reach association chairperson Magda du Toit on firstname.lastname@example.org by middle August.
- The awards function for Agricultural Writers SA North will be in Gauteng on 18 October and the national function, also in Gauteng, on 8 November. Agricultural Writers SA's Annual General Meeting will be held on 9 November.
Photo of the month
Sunset on the 2013 Nampo Havest Day. Photographer: Lindi van Rooyen.