What is your agricultural background?
I’m a proud alumnus of Boland Agricultural High School in Paarl and obtained my BCom in agricultural economics from Stellenbosch University. I also grew up on a farm, so a career in food production was a calling as well as a result of my love for the science of agriculture. I farm near Durbanville in the Koeberg area, a region renowned for its winter grains and quality wineries, and have produced grain crops (wheat, canola, barley and lupins), livestock and grapes for the past 23 years.
As president of Agri Western Cape, what is your vision for the association and agriculture in the province?
Agri Western Cape was founded as the [collective] voice of farmers within the structures of the authorities of the day; there is simply no way that we can make a difference as individuals. The organisation needs to be proactive in its pursuit to work alongside policymakers to create the best possible outcome for farmers on the ground.
What are some of the burning issues facing the sector at the moment and how should these be addressed?
The devastating drought in the Western Cape is one of our main challenges. Farmers in the drought-stricken areas are on their knees and are barely surviving. We have to find a more sustainable solution to these types of natural disasters.
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These salads are a celebration of summer, and are perfect to have on their own or as a side. They are also easy to make and super affordable. Bon appétit!
North West farmers extend helping hand to hungry communities
Prompted by their own hardship during a decade of drought, farmers in the Schweizer-Reneke area have recognised the urgent need to help unemployed and hungry families in the local communities. Lindi Botha spoke to Jozeph du Plessis about the farmers’ project to distribute maize meal to the needy.
Backgrounding Beef Animals For Higher Profit
Most South African beef producers sell their weaners straight to feedlots for finishing. Chéri-Lynn Steyn, a master’s student in agricultural economics, explains how backgrounding these animals can increase the income of commercial beef farms and even of the feedlots themselves.
Economic Outlook 2021: Now Is The Time To Build Reserves
After a particularly tough year for its economy, South Africa faces many challenges in 2021. Reduced spending power, credit downgrades, and a second wave of COVID-19 could put a damper on agricultural profits this year, and farmers will need to consider their marketing plans carefully. Lindi Botha shares advice from two of the country’s leading economists.
Good Summer Rain Forecast For SA
Weather experts have predicted above-average precipitation for South Africa’s summer rainfall areas in 2020/2021. Meteorologist Johan van den Berg explained the weather cycles and La Niña/El Niño phenomena behind the forecast to Jeandré van der Walt.
Land Reform 2021: Beware Of Fake News
Land reform in South Africa is mired in policy uncertainty and government neglect. At the same time, it is a political football, kicked around shamelessly by some leaders to serve short-term political goals. Glenneis Kriel spoke to three experts in the field to obtain clarity on this crucially important topic.
Managing calf health for maximum long-term productivity
Prevention is better than cure, and this mindset is especially applicable when it comes to preparing calves for their productive adult lives. Dr Schabort Froneman, technical manager for ruminants at Zoetis, provides some pointers on how to raise healthy calves that can become healthy adult animals.
The stories that got us through a tough year
Farmer’s Weekly editor, Denene Erasmus, looks back at some of the top stories of 2020 that not only inspired her, but also served as an example to all South Africans of the remarkable resilience and determination shown by the farming sector during this most unusual year.
SA Harvest: fighting hunger and food waste one meal at a time
Small beginnings can lay the foundation of great success. This holds true for SA Harvest, a food rescue and distribution organisation. Ali Conn, regional manager at SA Harvest, spoke to Jeandré van der Walt about the organisation’s journey over the past year and its future plans.
Diversifying with a new variety pays off for pumpkin producer
The demand for convenient meals and easy-to-prepare vegetables is opening up marketing opportunities for the Hokkaido pumpkin, a newcomer to South Africa. Small, and with an edible peel, the variety holds much promise for expanding cucurbit cultivation. Lindi Botha spoke to Francois Steyn about farming the Hokkaido.