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The exciting Agri-Expo information days presented annually during Agri-Expo Livestock outside Stellenbosch underwent a transformation and are now known as SIYABONGA days. What makes it even more special is that these events now take place in different regions and are broadcast live so that farmers from all over can participate.
The SIYABONGA days aim to provide basic agricultural information to farmers in a unique format where farmers share a platform with industry experts, get the opportunity to ask questions and thus return to their farming with more knowledge and to eventually be more productive.
The information days have been some of the most successful platforms at Agri-Expo Livestock for many years and therefore they are excited to take the SIYABONGA days to the farmers now, says Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo. “The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered many agricultural opportunities and to reach the agricultural community in innovative ways is not easy, but that is exactly what we are doing with the SIYABONGA days. We need to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities that technology offers us, but we also need to reach people at the grassroots level.
“Why SIYABONGA? Siyabonga means thank you and what is more appropriate than to say thank you to agriculture and the farmers of South Africa at a time when agriculture means so much to our country. SIYABONGA also is an acronym for Sharing Information to improve Yields in Agriculture for a Better-Off Next Generation of Agriculturalists.”
The Agri-Expo information days have been presented in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture since 2014 and are already an institution, especially among small-scale farmers in the Western Cape. This seven-year partnership is proof of how government and the private sector can work together to empower farmers. “As the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, we are here to serve the agricultural sector,” says Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, the Head of the Department. “The agricultural sector is the sunrise sector that is key to the economic recovery of not just the Western Cape but for South Africa. We would like to provide the necessary support to our farmers to improve productivity, ensuring food security. The SIYABONGA days creates a great platform to reach more people now than in the past and we look forward to partnering with Agri-Expo once again.”
According to Breyton Milford, Operations Manager of Agri-Expo, the first three SIYABONGA days take place in Beaufort West, Grassy Park and Clanwilliam. “Not only has the name been changed, but due to the Covid-19 cancellation of the popular Agri-Expo Livestock, the SIYABONGA days are now presented in different regions to take the information to the people who faithfully supported these days in the past.”
Due to the restrictions on the number of event attendees, only a limited number of farmers are invited to attend; however, farmers and interested parties can join online for free, ask questions and be part of the discussions by registering here.
- Beaufort West SIYABONGA Day: Friday 2 October, 10:00 – 13:00
Beaufort West’s programme focuses on management and nutritional principles to overcome drought as well as partnership opportunities in the Karoo. Dr Louis du Pisani, an expert on drought conditions, will lead the discussion on management, after which Hans Greeff, a lecturer at Grootfontein Agricultural College, will talk about the correct nutrition in these times. Konsortium Merino and the Mohair Empowerment Trust will discuss collaboration opportunities.
- Grassy Park SIYABONGA Day: Friday 9 October, 10:00 – 13:00
In Grassy Park, the programme focuses on small-scale farmers in an urban environment. The author of the book Boer met Kleinvee (Farm with Small Stock), Leon Kruger, will advise on productive management in confined spaces. Donald Mouton, farm manager of Fairview in Paarl, will talk about which animals adapt to which conditions. Inspiration will come from Renshia Manuel of GrowBox, as well as from a small school with a big agricultural heart in Belhar, a suburb of Cape Town.
- Clanwilliam SIYABONGA Day: Friday 16 October, 10:00 – 13:00
Clanwilliam can look forward to experts’ advice on mixed farming. Winter cereals are under discussion by Grain SA, after which the focus shifts to the benefits of wool production by the National Wool Growers’ Association (NWGA). This is followed by a practical demonstration with guidelines on what to look for in small stock as well as a discussion of different sheep and goat breeds. The well-known rooibos farmer Niklaas Slinger concludes the program with advice, information and motivation.
The programmes in Beaufort West and Clanwilliam are presented in Afrikaans, but questions can be asked in English, while the programme in Grassy Park takes place in English, but questions can also be asked in Afrikaans. For more information, contact Agri-Expo on 021 975 4440 or by e-mail, visit www.agriexpo.co.za and www.livestock.org.za, and follow Agri-Expo on social media.