Kenya Draws Grain Farming and Management Lessons From South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
Members of the National Assembly Agriculture and Livestock Committee Hon. Joyce Kamene and Hon. Fred Ouda together with their Counterparts from Uganda Hon. Janet Okori Moe and Hon. Catherine Lamwaka attended the grain industry trade fair in South Africa, an annual initiative organized by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC).
The trade mission is held in May at the same time as the NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show that is hosted annually by the Grain SA at the NAMPO Park in Bothaville, in the Free State Province of South Africa. The event themed “Efficiency with Technology” saw Members of Parliament engage various agricultural actors across the world showcasing modern technology in farming for high efficiency production of farm yields. Critical in discussions with farming experts were the need to invest in strategic research on both the land and seeds to be planted for greater results.
The Members interacted with the Chief Executive Officer of Grain SA Mr. Jannie de Villiers a Member Organization providing Commodity Strategic Support to South African Grain Producers. Mr. Villers shared his experiences as a farmer while in managing both small and large scale farmers to attain maximum profits for their produce.
The Grain SA mentorship Programme supports farmers through study group meetings, demonstration trials and farmer’s competitions where the farmer of the year award is rewarded.
“We endeavor to provide as much information to the farmers as possible to help them understand their role towards the realization of high productivity and efficiency in farming,” Mr. Villiers told the delegation.
He emphasized that food security is key in the development of a Country hence land as a natural resource for job creation should be well planned irrespective of size and farmers given as much information as possible.
Further, Mr. Villiers noted that exposing farmers to the right markets for their produce is a key element in the journey to ensure that they are well motivated and encouraged to remain focused in their work.
He challenged the Members to explore ways in which they could uplift farmers including trading in the Stock Exchange noting that most farmers in South Africa are currently trading in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to enable them predict market prices.
At the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) the Head of commodity Derivatives Mr. Raphael Karuaihe informed members that grain farmers are very active in the trading sector especially in maize, wheat, sorghum among other crops.
“Participating in a Stock exchange provides a platform through which farmers learn and are well informed of the prices ahead of seasons in the region,” said Mr. Karuaihe adding that a transparent online grain trading platform would be critical and should be supported by law of contract for proper functioning.
“This is very advanced and efficient. The kind of support given to South African farmers is very encouraging and definitely forms great lessons for further engagement. As policy makers, we shall be analyzing our current situations to see how we can improve on the various farming methods in Kenya,” said Hon Ouda.
Hon. Ouda said the technology in farming and trading cannot be ignored and must be embraced for greater efficiency in production.
A session on "Nation in Conversation Platform" at the NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show brought leaders from different spheres to discuss issues influencing agriculture, food security and national development.
The storage facility in Viljoenskroon owned by the Senwes Group of Companies uses simple but effective technologies in receiving and storing grains. The grain facility which has branches in Aliwal North, Ugie and East London is focused on agribusiness for value addition and manages several grain silos in South Africa.
Hon. Kamene commended the management of the grain Silos as it offers an opportunity for the ideal commodity inventory management for improved efficiencies in grain handling and storage processes.
The Members are expected to formulate suitable agricultural policies and legislative frameworks that will enable the Country to develop its agricultural sector and improve food security.
The NAMPO International show is an annual event which brings farmers and stakeholders together to exchange ideas and network. This year, the show was attended by over 85,000 people with exhibitors drawn from the U.S.A, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada, Argentina , Italy, Denmark, China , Turkey among other Nations.