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Volume 9. Issue 2 Mar/ Apr 2021

Poultry Production The Moral - Read the Fine Print Before Signing Trade Agreements!

In this issue... Band saw blade for sawmills P11

Giving biofortified foods a boost in Tanzania P32



Soil health is the world’s health and farmers’ wealth P43

t Please visi te si b e the w m ica.com frica.co

revwa ers vie rmre .fars farme






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Volume 9. Issue 2 Mar/ Apr 2021


Volume 9. Issue 2. March/April 2021

Editor’s Note

News Poultry Production The Moral - Read the Fine Print Before Signing Trade Agreements!

In this issue... Band saw blade for sawmills P11

Giving biofortified foods a boost in Tanzania P32



Please visit the website

South Africa launches fund to boost Black farming


Soil health is the world’s health and farmers’ wealth P43

There has been record growth in demand for poultry products in Africa in the past two decades. Ideally, this should have created an opportunity for local poultry producers. Unfortunately, foreign chicken portions have been flooding the market valued at approximately US$3 billion per annum. As local producers cannot compete with the dumping prices of the imports, they have been driven out of business.


viewafrica .farmersrev farmersre







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Image courtesy: zootecnica International

Executive Editor Nita Karume editor@farmersreviewafrica.com Writers Silimina Derick, Bertha M. Contributing Writers Nqobile Bhebhe Zimbabwe Oscar Nkala Botswana Bertha M South Africa Nita Karume Kenya East Africa Advertising Executives Ken Tobby, Paul Amimo, M. Cherono Project Manager Victor Ndlovu sales@farmersreviewafrica.com Graphic Design & Layout Faith Omudho Art Director Augustine Ombwa austin@arobia.co.ke Correspondents - Isabel Banda zambia@farmersreviewafrica.com Sales & Marketing Gladmore. N gladmoren@farmersreviewafrica.com Mandla M. mandlam@farmersreviewafrica.com Kholwani. D kholwanid@farmersreviewafrica.com Polite Mkhize politem@farmersreviewafrica.com leslien@farmersreviewafrica.com East African Liaison Arobia Creative Consultancy Tel: +254 772 187334, 790 153505 arobia@farmersreviewafrica.com eastafrica@farmersreviewafrica.com Published by : Mailing Times Media +27 11 044 8986 sales@farmersreviewafrica.com


Black citrus growers see 40% increase in production figures

OPINION Agricultural sector can reap rewards from alternative energy



Make crop protection a song with the new MF 9330



Nita Karume


Land rights are an integral part of human rights

Solving for hunger and agriculture sustainability with the platform economy


Effectively, the free-trade agreements, which African countries signed with the world’s top poultry producers, heavily subsided by their respective governments, have turned out to be death knell for local producers, who do not have the luxury of any form of subsidy. It has dawned on African countries that they gave too much away in agreements with trade partners who have been flouting World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations on fair trade (or unfair trade practices) with giddy abandon. Frankly, African countries may have naïve to expect fair trade in a field where rules of fair play are seldom respected, if at all they do. In an article in this edition, expressing no surprise at how things have panned out, Nick Barnes dissects the root cause of the poultry dumping problem.

Feature Complete family of poultry scales

No Fair Trade in a World Where Unfair Trade Practices are Standard


Undercover farming Opportunities beckon in waterefficient farming

Mailing Times Media (Pty) Ltd makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the contents of its publications, but no warranty is made as to such accuracy and no responsibility will be borne by the publisher for the consequences of actions based on information so published. Further, opinions expr essed are not necessarily shared by Mailing Times Media (Pty) Ltd





South Africa launches fund to boost Black farming government imposed a strict lockdown to curb the pandemic. The IDC will provide 4 billion rand via debt and quasi-debt over the next three years while the government will provide a grant of 1 billion rand, the IDC said. Not only do we intend to work in commercial land areas where there is freehold title but we intend to work, and aggressively so, in rural areas and communal areas where land is handled under different land tenure systems,” Nchocho said.


outh Africa has set up a 5-billion-rand ($340 million) fund to help Black farmers gain access to capital and boost their role in commercial agriculture, state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The joint Agri-Industrial Fund is aimed at easing the funding constraints and entry barriers to commercial agriculture facing Black farmers, the IDC and the agricultural and land ministries said.

“The broader agricultural sector is central to the recovery of the local economy, but most importantly, this Fund’s objectives are consistent with the IDC’s role in increasing the number of black commercial farmers,” said IDC CEO Tshokolo Nchocho. Agriculture, which contributes around 1% to GDP, has been a bright spot in the country’s economy, which was already in recession before the COVID-19 crisis and deteriorated sharply last year after the

Access to funding has become more challenging for new farmers after state-owned Land Bank, the country’s largest agricultural-focused lender, missed debt repayments last year and had its credit rating cut, forcing it to seek financial assistance from the government. The fund will assist Black producers and investors in developing, expanding and acquiring farming operations, IDC said. It will aim to establish highvalue, export-oriented crops, competitive contract growers in the poultry, pork and beef sector and develop agro-processing.

Morocco’s OCP Secures $350 Million Loan to Grow Expansion in Africa


he African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed a $350 million loan facility deal, seeking to provide financing for Morocco’s fertilizer group OCP. The seven-year term loan facility will provide support for OCP’s expansion projects in Africa. The bank expressed satisfaction with the agreement describing OCP as a “major player” in the fertilizer industry and with a “strong presence across Africa.” President of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah described the signing of the agreement with OCP as an “important transaction which supports the development of Africa’s agricultural capacity.” The president of the bank said OCP’s products are tailored to the needs of African farmers. The president emphasized that the products will also improve the continent’s ability to compete in the international agricultural markets. “This facility also has symbolic value, as it marks the beginning of a productive and close relationship between Afreximbank and OCP Group,” the president of the bank added.

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The bank recalled OCP’s dominating role in the continent and across the world, supplying more than 160 clients. The OCP group has long expressed commitment to help African countries grow their agricultural projects, positioning itself as a major African player in the fertilizer industry. In March, the fertilizer group signed several partnership agreements with Nigeria to see the ammonia plant in Nigeria operational by 2024. Through the multipurpose industrial platform, both partners want to produce 750,000 tonnes of ammonia and one million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025. Nigeria is part of a lengthy line-up of partners, working with the OCP in Africa. The Moroccan group, expanded projects in the continent, contributing to African plans in the field of smart and sustainable agriculture. One of the OCP projects is a platform to ensure knowledge sharing between African partners on soil mapping. “African agriculture is at a transformational moment in its history and – a

time of incredible possibility and promise for farmers and industry alike,” OCP said. The group believes that Africa will become a world leader in sustainable farming, using local resources to realize the continent’s vast agricultural potential and help feed its growing population. “We are committed to working hand-in-hand with the people who will make this a reality. African smallholder farmers – enabling them to move from subsistence to a more modern way of farming,” the group emphasized.


Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe earn US $8.9m at the beginning of 2021 marketing season According to FAO, until recently, Zimbabwe had experienced steady economic growth. In 19961998, average annual exports of tobacco were 127 000 tonnes, of which Virginia accounted for more than 95 percent. Total exports of tobacco increased by 40 percent between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998. The average export revenue during the same period was US$7 875 million, and tobacco has been the largest single export crop in recent decades.


obacco farmers in Zimbabwe have earned US $8.9m in the first three days of the 2021 tobacco marketing season after selling 3.7m kg of the crop at the auction and contract floors. This represents an increase of over 1 000 percent from the US$ 783,465 earned by farmers during the same period last year after the sale of 374,338kg. The 2021 tobacco marketing season opened last Wednesday while contract floors opened the following day. Most of the crop so far has been sold through the contract floors.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has revealed that 3,3 million kg of tobacco valued at US$7,9 million has been sold at the contract floors in the first two days, while farmers sold 489 153kg worth US$1,052,245 at the auction floors in three days. The highest price at the auction floors is US$4.99 while contractors have offered a highest price of US$$6.30 per kg. So far, 45,651 bales have been sold at the contract floors compared to 6,145 bales at the auction floors.

Although the share of tobacco in total agricultural exports has declined from its peak of 78 percent in 1992, it still accounted for more than 55 percent of total agricultural exports during 1996-1998. Among other export crops, cotton and maize experienced significant growth in export revenue. Export earnings from cotton increased nearly 22fold between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998, while maize increased by nearly 16 times during the same period, and sugar also saw its share in revenue increase sharply.

BUA Group invests over US $300m in LASUCO towards Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in sugar


UA Group has invested over US $300m in its Lafiagi Sugar Company (LASUCO). The investment is geared towards achieving Nigeria’s seolf-sufficiency in sugar production. The senior general manager, LASUCO, AbdulRasheed Olayiwola, said the company is an integrated milling factory that is comprised of a Sugar mill, Ethanol plant, sugar refinery and power plant that will be integrated into the national grid.

“Other sugar refineries have 3000 tonnes of

Olayiwola stated that the sugar company with 20,000 hectares of land has a processing mill capacity of 10,000 tcd from sugar cane to widely accepted white sugar, adding that the sugar refinery has a refining capacity of 220,000 metric tonnes. He explained that BUA will have farmers, loaders, truckers and other auxiliary services providers who will be basically the locals and other Nigerians. Giving a breakdown of the Integrated sugar factory, Olayiwola said, “the Integrated factory will produce 20milion ethanol

of the company into the BIP, it was given an

sugar cane per day and this is even brown sugar because they have no equipment to refine to white sugar but ours will be doing 10,000 metric tonnes cane per day.” He said the company was first allocated 5000 hectares of land but after seeing the commitment additional 15,000 hectares to make 20,000 hectares.

per annum from the plant, a sugar refinery of 220,000 metric tonnes, a 35 megawatt of electricity for the factory and is to be connected to the national grid for Nigerians to consume and a 10,000 tcd capacity sugar mill.”

Also speaking, the BUA Group Head of Corporate Communication, Mr Otega Ogra, noted that BUA group is the only sugar refiner in the country building a fully integrated plantation that has an end-to-end planting process.

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Kenya dairy farmers double income, milk yields with climate-smart fodder grasses with high protein content, which could translate to improved milk yields and incomes, has been a real challenge for farmers.”


ore than 1,000 dairy farmers in Western Kenya have doubled their milk production and grown their incomes by saving on high-cost feed and growing their own highquality, drought-resilient forage grasses. Researchers have been working with farmers to test ten new varieties of grasses that are higher in protein, lower in fiber and mature faster. They boost both the quality and quantity of milk. Finding quality grasses and seed with high protein content, which could translate to improved milk yields and incomes, has been a real challenge for farmers. Through trainings and use of demonstration plots, the Grass to Cash project of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), has been working with smallholder farmers in Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia counties since September 2018. Smallholder skill training: Expanding agro-processing Dickson Osogo, a dairy farmer in Siaya County, joined the research work two years ago. He had three cows and struggled with high commercial feed prices and poor quality Napier grass. Dickson joined the Grass to Cash project out of curiosity and now, having attended trainings and tried new planting, farm management, harvesting and feeding methods, he has bought two more cows and set aside half an acre on his farm to cultivate the grasses himself, cutting costs. “When I first planted the cultivars and fed them to my cows alongside Napier, I noticed the cows preferred the cultivars,” Dickson said.

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The Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) tested the grasses for suitability in local conditions before they were released to farmers. David Miano, a forage agronomist at KALRO, said: “As we think of making agriculture a business, we need to explore how we can convert what we are researching into a money-making activity. We have worked with development partners and farmer organisations to disseminate the forages, and each partner has had a crucial role to play in making these new grasses available to as many farmers as possible.” “This motivated me to expand the area under production. Now I have recorded an increase of up to six liters of milk per cow from milking twice per day. I don’t use a lot of grass when feeding them like I used to with Napier. The grasses also mature fast. When I first planted them, they matured within 10 weeks.” He has increased his monthly income from selling milk from KES 11,015 ($100) to Sh37,500 ($340) since introducing the grasses. “I am now also able to sell milk and still leave some for my family to consume, including my grandchildren,” says the father of nine, who has used the proceeds of the milk sale to educate his children and take care of other family needs. Dickson is now a peer trainer with Send a Cow, a partner organisation of the Alliance, working with 3,000 vulnerable farmers to improve their nutrition, health and income opportunities in the region. He trains 35 farmers in Siaya County, demonstrating the benefits of the grasses through sharing his experience. He also gives interested farmers forage seeds, and visits their farms to advise them on good farm management practices for optimum grass yields. Milk yields and incomes: Challenges faced by farmers Ruth Odhiambo, a senior research assistant at the Alliance who worked with farmers to test the new grass varieties, said: “We realised that the biggest problem farmers in Western Kenya faced was lack of animal feed. Up to 80% of farmers relied on Napier, which has serious disease problems which hinder grass production. Finding quality grasses and seed

This is a great opportunity for farmers, whether they own cows or land, to step forward and venture into a different direction, in which their farming enterprises can be profitable. Advantage Crops, a partnering seed company, has collaborated with the research teams to commercialize some of the new forage seed varieties, making them more easily available to farmers within shorter distances and addressing seed shortages. They have also repackaged the seed into more affordable sizes, from 50-gram packs to one-kilogram packs which vary in price from around 3,700 to 4,000 Kenyan Shillings per kilogram (US$33-36) depending on the variety. Charles Wasonga, company director at Advantage Crops, said: “This is a great opportunity for farmers, whether they own cows or land, to step forward and venture into a different direction, in which their farming enterprises can be profitable. There is a need to intensify these campaigns so that more of the potential beneficiaries can experience what the alternative fodders can offer.” He added that young people without cattle are also benefitting, growing the fodder and selling it to farmers, encouraging new entrepreneurial, income-generating opportunity. The Grass to Cash project is a project of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in partnership with The Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Advantage Crops Limited and Send a Cow and farmers.


Family Bank to disburse approximately US $5m for agribusiness across 17 counties in Kenya


amily Bank has committed to disburse loans worth approximately US $5m to agribusinesses across selected 17 counties in Kenya over the next year. Through an initiative dubbed ‘Pay for Results’, the bank targets to provide financing across dairy, horticulture, livestock, and energy for agriculture value chains. According to media reports, the Bank is targeting Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga, Kitui, Makueni, Taita Taveta, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, Garissa and Wajir counties. The Chief Executive Offier for the bank Rebecca Mbithi said the agribusiness sector faces challenges accessing affordable credit and technical support. Through this partnership, we will provide affordable credit and capacity building to our SME customers to nurture sustainable agribusinesses. The agriculture sector forms the backbone of Kenya’s economy, with an approximate contribution of 33 percent to the country’s GDP. However, overall lending by financial institutions to agriculture businesses remains low. This partnership comes barely a month after Family Bank entered into a fodder financing agreement with Performeter Agribusiness and Ndumberi Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society that is set to double dairy farmers’ milk production to 30,000 liters per day. Kenya Investment Mechanism is a USAID program that unlocks capital for SMEs and smallholder farmers in Kenya and East Africa, in partnership with banks and other financing organizations. The program is implemented by Palladium, a global firm that works with foundations, investors, governments, corporations, communities, and civil society to formulate strategies and implement solutions that generate lasting social, environmental, and financial benefits.

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Black citrus growers see 40% increase in production figures


ccording to The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and its Grower Development Company (GDC), black citrus growers have achieved a 40% increase in production during the 2019-2020 citrus season. Several farms and black growers have increased output by over 40,000 cartons - with one black grower increasing production by 99 000 cartons in just one year. The harvest records also reveal that, locally, black citrus growers have increased output to domestic markets by 55% since 2019. Last year, black citrus growers provided over 400,000 cartons of fruit to South African grocery stores and supermarkets. In addition, more than 75% of black citrus growers in South Africa export their produce to global markets. These figures show that the growth of the citrus industry in recent years has been inclusive, and that transformation – one of the fundamental objectives of the organised citrus industry – is picking up pace. The CGA-GDC helps facilitate and support the establishment and empowerment of black citrus growers through assistance with: • Production infrastructure (irrigation, mechanisation, building structures and other general farm equipment) • Technical support and business management support to assist growers with the commercialisation of their fruit in South

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African stores Achieving regulatory compliance, to become accredited exporters to the global market

Lukhanyo Nkombisa, CGA GDC general manager, says that these successes are testament to the groundwork that has been laid over the last decade: “The citrus industry has spent over 10 years creating structures such as the Citrus Grower Development Chamber (CGDC) to assist, guide and advise the CGAGDC on the needs of black citrus growers, so that the GDC may provide them with the support they need to thrive. “The CGDC is run by black producers who ensure that the citrus industry is committed to supporting the initiatives that will result in the establishment of an inclusive citrus industry, with a sound transformation agenda.” These transformation initiatives are partly made possible by the new statutory export citrus levy, gazetted In December last year by Minister Thoko Didiza. The levy will be funded by 1,250 citrus growers over the next four years with 20% of the new levy being allocated to the development of black citrus growers. This funding will be invested in the CGA’s recently finalised four-year Transformation Plan, which will be implemented in 2021 through the CGA-GDC and Citrus Academy. The plan will focus on:

• • • • •

The provision of enterprise and supplier development programmes to black growers; The provision of skills development programmes to black growers; The roll-out of socio-economic development programmes in rural communities; Ensuring the sustainable growth of black owned enterprises; and, Greater representation of black growers in industry leadership positions.

Justin Chadwick, CEO of the CGA, says: “The Agriculture and Agro processing Master Plan (AAMP) is an initiative of the Presidency to stimulate inclusive growth in the agricultural sector. The CGA has committed to the development of this plan. With a solid base of successful black citrus growers, initiatives driven by the CGA GDC will assist in ensuring sustainable development.” Over the past year, we’ve also witnessed South Africa’s unemployment rate sky-rocket to an all-time high – with the outbreak of Covid-19 resulting in widespread joblessness and business closures. At a time when many have been left devastated by the global pandemic – black citrus growers are able to provide employment to over 7,000 permanent and seasonal staff. This is a phenomenal achievement – and encapsulates the adage “empowered people, empower people.”


Strengthening food systems must be at the centre of Africa’s COVID-19 recovery


trengthening food systems must be an integral part of efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to build resilience in Africa, said African Development Bank Director General for Southern Africa, Leila Mokaddem. Hunger is a greater threat to many Africans than the COVID-19 crisis, Mokaddem said in a session on sustainable food systems at the Southern Africa Impact Forum on 9 March. “Africa must now urgently strengthen its food systems as an integral part of efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to build resilience,” she said. University of Pretoria vice-chancellor Tawana Kupe noted, “when they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities and nations. But too many of the world’s food systems are fragile and vulnerable to collapse.” Mokaddem outlined four areas in which the Bank is working in partnerships to drive the food sector’s transformation: sustainably intensify the production of safe and nutritious food to meet demand; careful management of land,

soils, and water; increasing the contribution of local food producers and suppliers and reduction of post-harvest losses; and harnessing digital technologies to develop and drive food systems transformation. “The African Development Bank is championing the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a major continent-wide initiative designed to boost agricultural productivity across the continent by rapidly delivering proven technologies to millions of farmers,” she added. Other initiatives that underscore the Bank’s leadership role in the sector are its financing of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential, as well as the promotion of climate-smart agriculture. Removing barriers to agricultural development could spur a jump in Africa’s agricultural output from an annual $280 billion to $1 trillion by 2030, Mokaddem said at the virtual event, where she represented Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina. “AfDB is committed, in partnership with key stakeholders to supporting agricultural transformation and calls on governments,

Multilateral Development Banks and other development partners to support a technology development and delivery mechanism required to achieve the transformation of African agriculture,” Mokaddem said. The session included a break-out session for a series of dialogues that are part of the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit that is expected to be held in September or October 2021. Introducing the discussions, The World Health Organization’s Special Envoy for COVID-19, David Nabarro, said: “We are seeking to transform food systems so they can be more sustainable and equitable, and it’s a transformation that will contribute to all of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), and absolutely key to dealing with the other major crises in our world at this time.” The Southern Africa Impact Forum on sustainable development, held March 9-10, is hosted by Times Higher Education and the University of Pretoria. Participants included academics and representatives of the private sector, civil society and international agencies.

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Agriculture Sector Network, ASNET, welcomes UK-Kenya Free Trade Agreement


enya agriculture sector umbrella body, The Agriculture Sector Network, ASNET, has lauded the recently ratified Economic Partnership Agreement between Kenya and UK saying it will go a long way in boosting economic development and job creation. The trade deal allows tariff-free market access for Kenyan top agricultural exports to UK including vegetables, fruits, flowers, coffee and tea. Kenyan vegetable exports enjoy 43 per cent market share in UK while cut flowers command 9 per cent share. The trade pact also guarantees tariff free access for UK exports to Kenya among them electronics, technical equipment and machinery. “We thank the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development for according players in the agriculture sector the opportunity to present its views on the UK –Kenya Free Trade Agreement. We acknowledge the importance of Public Private Partnerships in driving the

Kenyan economy and also enabling a conducive business environment,” said Bimal Kantaria the ASNET chairman. Agriculture plays a leading role in Kenya’s economy and is a critical pillar to the country’s development strategy. It is estimated that more than 75 percent of Kenyans’ livelihoods depend on the sector, contributes about 33% per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 40 % of the total population. This calls for facilitation in all the key areas to enable the sector to thrive. “The milestones achieved with the agreement will facilitate the continued duty and quotafree access of Kenya exports to the UK as they do in the EU market bloc, and secure foreign exchange earnings. The sector acknowledges the agreement will enhance competitiveness of Kenya’s leading agricultural exports namely cut flowers, fresh produce, coffee and tea even as we look forward to the expansion of

AGCO partners with WesBank to finance agribusinesses in South Africa


GCO, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology, has joined forces with WesBank, South Africa’s leader in vehicle and asset finance, to offer affordable financing solutions to their customers in the agricultural sector.

other hand, is designed to empower farmers to continue contributing to the growth of a robust agricultural industry, and to better respond to the current food production demands through AGCO’s full line of agriculture equipment and services.

AGCO, Africa looked for a local asset financier who not only understands the AGCO South Africa, which vital role agriculture plays delivers customer value Managing Director of AGCO, Africa, in the South African economy through its differentiated Dr. Dominik Reus. but also comprehends the brand portfolio including core brands like Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey challenges of running an agribusiness. WesBank Ferguson® and Valtra®, recently adopted a 2-tier has extensive experience in agriculture financing distribution model that will support South African and has demonstrated the ability to offer a choice dealers directly from the region’s headquarters of dedicated finance options, specifically tailored in Johannesburg. This ‘New way Forward’ to the agricultural environment. model seeks to bring agricultural machinery and solutions closer to customers in the region. This refreshed customer-centric approach in doing business is unlocking significant value in the local distribution chain, making it possible for AGCO dealers to deliver the company’s established brands more effectively and efficiently to farmers. The WesBank retail financing solution, on the

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With South Africa contributing over 40% of AGCO’s African business, it was time to revise how AGCO, Africa conducted its business in the country, thus WesBank brings with it a wealth of knowledge and success in agriculture financing. Dr. Dominik Reus, Managing Director at AGCO Africa explains, “In WesBank, AGCO has found

From Left to Right: Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) Chairman, Harry Kimtai, Principal Secretary, State Department of Livestock, Prof. Micheni Ntiba, Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) State Law Office and Department of Justice and Dr.Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary State Department of East African Community (EAC) during the launch of the ASNET Strategic Plan in Nairobi Kenya.

the list to include other products,” Mr. Kantaria added. Since the vast majority of Kenya’s poor depend on smallholder agriculture increasing their productivity can contribute immensely to improving food security, increasing rural incomes, lowering poverty levels and growing the economy. a partner that understands the critical task of farmers to feed the world. Now farmers can benefit from AGCO ‘s high-tech agricultural solutions through this affordable financing solution, and our dealers can enjoy much improved cash flow to expand their offerings, sustain day to day activities and acquire the inventory that farmers desire from our international factories, without any delay.” “The agriculture sector is a vital part of the South African economy, and contributes substantially to the GDP on a direct and indirect basis. This partnership with AGCO reinforces our deep understanding of the agricultural business and our ability to offer a choice of dedicated finance options, specifically tailored to the agricultural environment,” says Kalie Roets, WesBank Corporate, Head of Agriculture. “At WesBank, we understand the difficulties agricultural businesses face, and our team, with its in-depth knowledge of the industry, is looking forward to delivering affordable asset finance solutions for AGCO and its partners in the agricultural businesses,” adds Roets. “AGCO Finance solutions enable farmers to invest in high technology machines that can enhance farm productivity, while allowing dealers to respond faster and better to farmers’ needs – especially at this time when there is even a greater demand for food security”, concludes Reus.

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Agricultural sector can reap rewards from alternative energy


profile but financially the solar plant might be a better option for his business,” Durham explains.

he South African agricultural sector has shown much resilience over the years, surviving droughts, diseases and sanitation issues. Despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown in SA, the agricultural sector has been a star performer shipping about R150 billion worth of produce in 2020 or 3% more than in the previous year. According to Agribiz, the sector is likely to increase agricultural exports further this year, on the back of another larger maize harvest. Additionally, favourable seasonal production conditions have boosted the prospects for exportable fruit commodities. However, the lack of certainty around constant power supply has had and continues to have a massive impact on the agricultural sector. “Power outages have a negative impact on businesses with warehouses, processing plants, canning factories, cold storages and those reliant on irrigation. Farming operations and seasonal planning have been disrupted by repeated outages,” says Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Agri-Business. Increased cost of business Makube notes that while farmers can do everything in their power to produce good quality, marketable products and the ability to store products at the optimal temperature ultimately determines the quality when it reaches the market. “Generators that run for hours to maintain temperature levels translate into an unsustainable additional cost. Farmers can register for the diesel refund scheme administered by the South African Revenue Service through the VAT system. However, the administrative process and delayed refunds can be a challenge,” he says.

Durham says one of the most effective solar solutions is a grid-tied solution. Grid-tied systems consist of two key components – solar panels and a dedicated grid-tied inverter. All the electric power generated by the solar panels feeds through a mains-synchronised inverter directly into a distribution board and offsets the power the farm would normally consume from Eskom or the municipality.

PAUL MAKUBE - Senior Agricultural Economist - FNB South Africa

sustainability of the sector. Kyle Durham, Head of Alternative Energy Solutions at FNB Business says customised solutions are available for the agriculture sector. “We’ve done the research and we find that this is definitely a non-core approach. For example, if a farmer is given a choice between financing another packhouse or a solar energy project, he will tend towards choosing the packhouse because he understands the risk

“This means you are trying to use your solar plant in such a way that by noon on a sunny day, the plant is generating maximum electricity and as you go towards the evening and mornings, you revert to using municipality or Eskom electricity. You can save 30% to 50% on your electricity bill.” “The expected capital cost of a solar plant is linked to the current energy requirements and can vary from R120 000 to more than R10 million. However, the long-term benefits in terms of cost-saving and business sustainability far outweigh the upfront costs. FNB Alternative Energy Solutions offers bespoke finance solutions to help fund these capital costs. Helping the agricultural industry maintain sustainability going forward is key to rebuilding our economy,” Durham concludes.

In addition to load-shedding issues, the cost of electricity supply via Eskom remains high and set to increase further from 1 April 2021. An amount of 5.44c/kWh will be added to the average standard tariff, bringing the rate Eskom customers will be forced to pay in the 2021/2022 tariff year to 134.3c/kWh — up by 15.63%. Customised alternative energy solutions The current power supply challenges coupled with ongoing tariff increases present a compelling case for farmers to consider investing in renewable energy alternatives to ensure the

January - February 2021 | 9


BMG offers a refurbishment, fabrication and replacement service to sugar mills throughout Africa


he BMG team works closely with sugar mill engineers in the industry’s off-crop period each year, to refurbish and relace worn components in preparation for high productivity in the upcoming season. Dorstener gearboxes have been used on diffuser drives, mill drives and feeder tables for many years and three of these planet carriers recently needed to be replaced, due to excessive bearing journal wear and cracking. “In spite of tight time restrictions before the seasonal start-up of the mill, coupled with manufacturing challenges, BMG has designed, fabricated and installed new carriers, reducing the normal 24-week delivery period to only four weeks, with cost savings of about 7,5 times that of the OEM,” explains Mike Cooper, General Manager- Engineering, BMG. “Carriers are normally manufactured by Dorstener from cast iron, which is extremely difficult to repair. In this case, there was the additional problem of bores positioned close together, with virtually no wall thickness between the bearing journals, which was where the cracking had occurred. Because of the harsh operating conditions of the mill and the high torque load of these units, we

10 | March - April 2021

decided replacement was the preferred option over refurbishment. “These planet carriers were re-engineered and fabricated out of 355WA steel plate, which is not only stronger than the original cast iron units, but also allowed us to manufacture these carriers in a far shorter lead time, of three weeks. The team was on a tight deadline to have drawings and designs approved to ensure highly accurate dimensions for a perfect fit and clearances and to accommodate the gear mesh.

Welding challenges to maintain structural rigidity of the system, were overcome by machining interlocking tabs in the top and bottom main plates, as well as in the webs and side rings, to ensure a more precise assembly for welding, with less distortion. The webs and side plates were welded to the bottom ring and the entire assembly was then fitted fit onto the top ring, for welding into place. Slots were later filled with weld, so that the webs form an integral part of the structure. BMG’s specialist services to the sugar sector include bearing and gearbox inspection, bearing and chain refurbishment, large size bearing assembly and alignment and balancing, as well as customised product design. The company’s mobile field services team conducts breakdown and routine maintenance on plant and carries out trouble shooting to ensure the highest level of plant output and reliability. BMG’s total plant maintenance solutions service is geared to optimising productivity and enhancing process plant operating reliability to make a difference to the efficiencies of every plant.


Band saw blade for sawmills Correct blade, Perfect cut Wrong decisions in band saw blade purchase can result in damage and loss of productivity in wood cutting. Blade damage can force a sawmill to incur unscheduled replacement costs while the loss of productivity can translate in missing product delivery targets for clients. That is why, prior to purchasing blades, management of a sawmill have to ensure that they have the correct widths, thicknesses, tooth per inch (TP) and tooth configurations they need.


ircular saw blades and band saw blades have unique merits in respective applications in wood cutting. However, band saw blades produce less kerf loss than circular saw blades. Furthermore, due to their flexibility, band saw blades are able to produce smooth, unusual shapes. Generally, the industry preference is blades made from carbon steel, induction hardened teeth that are set and sharpened. It is hard to ignore the fact that sawmill owners are spoilt for choice with the market awash with a wide range of products from suppliers globally. However, unsurprisingly, this situation has made the task of choosing a suitable band saw mill akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. But how does sawmill management separate the wheat from the chaff amongst the hundreds, if not thousands, of product out there? No doubt, the burden is upon sawmill management to exercise prudence when it comes to procuring products that can deliver real value for money in terms of expected levels of performance, safety and output. Fundamental elements in band saw blade selection At first it is important to bear in mind is that band sawmill blades are available in different

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widths, thicknesses, tooth per inch (TP) and tooth configurations. And these are fundamental elements in determining the band saw blade to be used. i. Width Width, in this context, encompasses knowledge of the maximum capacity a bandsaw can accommodate and the minimum radius to be cut. For exact specifications, it is advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. ii. Thickness Constant flexing, and heating and cooling can result in metal fatigue, ending in failure in unfortunate circumstances causing loss of production. Consequently, choosing the proper thickness of the blade is important. The rule of the thumb is: The blade’s thickness is dependent on the diameter of the wheels and the work to be done. And there are two aspects to consider. While thick blades withstand more twisting and turning, they can easily succumb to continuous bending and twisting action. On the other hand, thinner blades are ideal for lighter work. iii. Teeth per inch (TPI) required It can be challenging to determine teeth per inch. The tried and tested way is finding a balance between finish and feed rate. Typically, blades with more teeth, cut slower and smoother. On

the other hand, blades with fewer teeth cut faster, albeit with slightly rougher finish. iv. Tooth configurations (styles) Generally, there are three types of tooth styles (configurations) bandsaw blades - regular, skip, and hook. Available in higher TPI blades, a regular tooth blade produces smooth cuts in all woods, and is suitable for general cutting (material with a fine finish). A hook tooth blade, with wider spaced teeth, is deployed for aggressive cutting in hard or thicker woods. With wider spaced teeth, a skip tooth blade is for less aggressive, smoother cut in woods, mainly preferred in resawing applications. Do you know what you are looking for? Generally speaking, prior to sourcing band saw blades, sawmill management have to know exactly what they are looking for and what type of wood is to be cut. Otherwise, wrong choices can result in slow productivity and blade damage. The benefit of informed blade selection is in the output, demonstrably through achieving a health balance between the body of the saw blade and the material being cut, about 80% sawdust and 20% air ejected.

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Unbeatable combination made in Germany: SERRA – Powerful sawmills & WINTERSTEIGER band saw blades


he unique SERRA technology is now successfully being used in over 80 countries. From small mobile sawmills to complete sawmill lines, we offer tailor-made solutions for every need and budget in a wide range of climates. For almost 30 years, the innovative company has been known for its high-quality products “Made in Germany” and since the beginning of 2019, SERRA is part of the Austrian WINTERSTEIGER AG. Horizontal log band sawmills are the core competence of SERRA, available in four different size classes are available to allow the cutting of logs with a maximum diameter of 90, 110, 135 or even 160 centimeters. SERRA’s mobile sawmills in various weight and size classes are mostly used for custom cutting so that long hauls for raw wood can be prevented. The mobile sawmills are driven by electric motors and sawmills with combustion engines are available for operation without main power.

After commissioning, you will be personally trained on the sawmill by experienced SERRA professionals.

We are proud of our first-class, worldwide personal service, and wood working machines like resaws and trimmers complete our product range. The love for wood accompanies is everywhere: we work in wooden buildings, heat with wood and process wood, we are therefore well versed in this valuable raw material and this is the right basis for building excellent machines. Many satisfied customers in Africa It all started a few years ago when a customer decided to buy our well-known Bavaria SL110. After testing it, he was so convinced of it that he immediately ordered another sawmill. Both sawmills have been working continuously for

The optimised WINTERSTEIGER band saw blades guarantee the best cutting results with the highest quality. The SERRA “Shark” series of grinding machines puts an end to blunt saw blades.

the last few years. As it happens, good news gets around and immediately other sawmillers, seeing the success of this SERRA pioneer, invested in more SERRA sawmills; one of them in a SERRA Africa XE135 model and another in a SERRA Bavaria SL110. We are very proud that there is a wide range of SERRA sawmills in operation in Africa now, which are used daily by highly satisfied customers. Unbeatable



WINTERSTEIGER band saw blades To get the best cutting result, SERRA relies purely on WINTERSTEIGER band saw blades. WINTERSTEIGER develops and manufactures band saw blades that have been hardened and tipped with Stellite® for use in the sawmill with blade widths up to 260 mm. WINTERSTEIGER band saw blades are optimized for specific applications and the material to be cut, providing our customers with optimum results: cost-effectively and with extremely high quality. We offer you a complete package tailored to your unique requirements, including sawmills, resaws, saw blades, and service.


Part of Group

For heavy logs with up to 160 cm in diameter Extremely robust and heavy built Variable saw head with a lot of space above the saw blade Convincing equipment options such as fully automated sawing mode Optimized for project planning Various cockpit are available

Whatch the new XE 160 video!

“ In Africa, machines need be more

rugged. The woods are harder and heavier, and the trunks are thicker. This is why we developed a sawmill with an extremely rugged design specifically for Africa: the SERRA XE. The success of this model in Africa has also spread to other parts of the world. The XE is a popular choice for industrial roundwood processing, plant construction and as an additional machine for cutting extremely heavy timber.






Thermal management solutions from Eberspächer: Perfect climate in agricultural and forestry machinery


he Eberspächer Group is one of the world’s leading system developers and suppliers for the automotive industry. With its climate control systems, the Company offers “competence across the board” and ensures a pleasant climate in a broad range of vehicle types, such as, agricultural, forestry and construction machinery – no matter the season or weather. Fuel operated heating solutions ensure pleasant temperatures Even at low temperatures, work in forestry or agricultural business must go on. The engineindependent air and water heaters from Eberspächer make sure the driver’s cab is (pre-) heated to a comfortable temperature – not only before and while driving as well as during break-times. The robust and compact Airtronic 2 air heater preheats the driver’s cab to the ideal temperature. It can be installed in tight spaces, impressing with its low energy consumption and very fast cab heating capability. The Airtronic has many safety and diagnostic features making it a reliable pre-heating system. Low maintenance and easy service procedures are further benefits. Water heaters like Hydronic S3 Economy (12 V) and Commercial (24 V) are the ideal solution for applications where both the cab and the engine require pre-heating. This is the case in cold regions, for example: Here, it makes sense to pre-heat the coolant by means of a fuel operated heater to make sure the engine starts smoothly, while preventing idle time and engine wear. Fuel consumption is low and because of its brushless motor, the system is very quiet. The heat to the cab is distributed via the vehicle’s heat exchanger. It convinces with an enlarged service life of up to 5,000 hours depending on the version. Eberspächer’s fuel operated heating systems can easily be operated by the EasyStart Pro operating element. In addition to a timer function it has an integrated temperature sensor, simple diagnostic functions for the users and more detailed diagnostic functions for the workshop. The timer function allows the user to set up to three programming locations or have the heater run endlessly. Reliable electric heating for all drive types The Plugtronic electric pre-heating system guarantees cozy warmth from the very start of deployment. The system has a modular

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hybrid or electric drive. The compact high-voltage coolant heater conditions the battery and warms up the driver’s cab using PTC technology: Based on their in-system self-control effect, these highperformance PTC elements protect against overheating, enabling safe and powerful heating.

The third-generation Eberspächer Hydronic water heater impresses with its durable brushless motor.

The Eberspaecher Kalori Falkon Kombi HVAC is also available as a fully electrical variant.

The Airtronic air heater from Eberspächer heats quietly and features a long service life

structure: As a coolant heater integrated into the vehicle’s cooling circuit, it can already preheat the engine and driver’s cab at the rescue station – without producing any emissions. As an additional function, the battery can also be charged automatically using the optional battery charger. Operation couldn’t be simpler: To start heating mode, simply connect the power cable to a socket (230 V) and the plug-in device in the vehicle. Eberspächer’s Titronic CHHV 50 G3 is a purely electrical solution for fast, reliable heating of off-highway and construction vehicles with a

Air-Conditioning and HVAC systems from Eberspächer Kalori To make sure drivers of tractors can focus on their work not only in cool temperatures but also in extreme heat, Eberspächer’s broad portfolio also includes cooling and HVAC solutions for every demand and application. The pre-assembled evaporator system KAB from Eberspächer Kalori is specially developed for the equipment of tractor cabs. It integrates air distribution and manual operating elements and can be easily installed in the cab roof. It is also available as a combined HVAC version for heating, ventilation and cooling. No matter the size of the cab: One of the over ten system variants ensures a comfortable climate. The KAB HVAC 10/7.7 kW variant for large cabins is equipped with the Eberpächer Kalori Falkon Kombi HVAC evaporator, for example. The Falkon Kombi provides 7.7 kW cooling performance and 10 kW heating power and is also available as an air-conditioning only version with 9 kW cooling performance and a fully electrical variant. It is highly efficient and enables compact air conditioning for all kinds of driver´s cabs. With its compact and flexible design, the Falkon Kombi is easy to install in various positions inside the cabin. Eberspächer Kalori also offers cabin pressurization systems, like the K Protec: A filter system and an overpressure generated in the driver’s cab filters out pollutants and dust particles from the cab air, while the overpressure prevents them from even entering. For work in harsh environments or at very hot temperatures, the HK EVO4 Kombi evaporator unit is especially suitable. It offers a cooling power of 8.6 kW is designed for large cabins. The Stop & Kool electrical compressor allows the air-conditioning system to remain operable even when the engine is stopped. So the airconditioning system can also operate during break times as it is connected to the vehicle’s original air-conditioning system and replaces the motor-driven compressor.


New Study: Scaling up bioenergy production could substantially raise water stress According to a new study from an international team of scientists, biomass plantations for energy production need sustainable water management in order to avoid a substantial increase in water scarcity.


ioenergy is frequently considered one of the options to reduce greenhouse gases for achieving the Paris climate goals, especially if combined with capturing the CO2 from biomass power plants and storing it underground. Growing large-scale bioenergy plantations worldwide, however, do not just require land, but also considerable amounts of freshwater for irrigation – which can be at odds with respecting Earth’s planetary boundaries. An international team of scientists has used their most detailed computer simulations to date to calculate how much additional water stress could result for people worldwide in a scenario of conventional irrigation and one of sustainable freshwater use. “Irrigation of future biomass plantations for energy production without sustainable water management, combined with population growth, could double both the global area and the number of people experiencing severe water stress by the end of the century, according to our computer simulations,” says lead author Fabian Stenzel from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) who developed the research idea for this study while participating in the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) – IIASA’s flagship initiative for mentoring young scientists. “However, sustainable water management could almost halve the additional water stress compared to another analysed scenario of strong climate change unmitigated by bioenergy production.” Both political regulation and on-farm improvements needed “Sustainable water management means both political regulation – such as pricing or water allocation schemes – to reduce the amounts of water taken from rivers as well as on-farm improvements to make more efficient use of the water,” explains study co-author Sylvia Tramberend, a researcher in the IIASA Water Security Research Group. “This could include cisterns for rainwater collection or mulching to reduce evaporation. Moreover, sustainable water management includes the preservation of reliable river flows to ensure

undisturbed ecosystems in and alongside rivers. Up- and downstream river management may in fact require international cooperation calling for more transboundary river management as well as between different water users – that’s the challenge ahead for integrated water resource management.” Largely unmitigated global warming, together with population growth, would increase the number of people under water stress by about 80% in the simulations. Enhanced use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could limit climate change: When plants grow, they take up CO2 from the air and build it into their trunks, twigs and leaves. If this biomass is burned in power plants and the CO2 is captured from the exhausts and stored underground (carbon capture and storage (CCS)), this can eventually help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere – scientists call this ‘negative emissions’. In many scenarios, these are seen as necessary for meeting ambitious climate mitigation targets if direct emission reductions proceed too slowly, and to balance any remaining greenhouse gas emissions that are difficult or impossible to reduce, for instance potentially in aviation, certain types of industry, or in livestock production. Water scarcity remains a huge challenge “According to existing scenarios, biomass plantations could increase by up to 6 million square kilometres if global warming is to be limited to 1.5°C by the end of the century, the more ambitious of the two temperature targets of the Paris Agreement,” says co-author Dieter Gerten from PIK. “We used these scenario inputs to run simulations in our high resolution global vegetation and water balance model to explore the freshwater implications. While substantial irrigation implied in a bioenergy plus CCS scenario including population growth suggests a 100% increase in the number of people facing water stress, combining it with sustainable water management brings the number down to 60%. This, of course,

is still an increase, so challenging tradeoffs are on the table.” Regions that already suffer from water stress today would be most affected in the climate change scenario, like the Mediterranean, the Middle East, northeastern China, South-East and southern West Africa. In the bioenergy plus CCS scenario without sustainable water management, high water stress extends to some otherwise unaffected regions, like eastern Brazil and large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Here, large biomass plantation areas in need of irrigation are assumed in the scenario analysed. SDGs and planetary boundaries must be taken into account Climate mitigation is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the world has agreed to achieve. The water–energy–environment nexus studied in this research highlights that pathways to sustainability must consider all affected SDGs. “The numbers show that either way, sustainable water management is a challenge to be addressed urgently,” says co-author Wolfgang Lucht, head of PIK’s Earth System Analysis research department. “This new study confirms that measures currently considered to stabilise our climate, in this case bioenergy plus CCS, must take into account a number of further dimensions of our Earth system – water cycles are one of them. Risks and tradeoffs have to be carefully considered before launching large-scale policies that establish biomass markets and infrastructure. The concept of planetary boundaries considers the whole Earth system, including but not limited to climate. Particularly the integrity of our biosphere must be acknowledged to protect a safe operating space for humanity.”

Reference Stenzel, F., Greve, P., Lucht, W., Tramberend, S., Wada, Y., Gerten, D. (2021). Irrigation of biomass plantations may globally increase water stress more than climate change. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21640-3

March - April 2021| 15


Make crop protection a song with the new MF 9330 “I wonder what my father and grandfather would have said if they had seen it,” says Johan Landman of Volksrust. The “IT” is the spick and span MF 9330 self-propelled sprayer which has just arrived to boost the ranks of the Massey Ferguson team serving the JaJoLa Boerdery. Crop protection can now be an exact, quick and painless operation.


ohan still remembers the same operation in his childhood – teams of labourers, every man and woman with a bottle of poison mix to dose every mealie ear to kill the caterpillars. But that is not all that he remembers. “I was born in that generation. I still remember very well, when I was four to five years old, that my father and his men started yoking the teams of oxen to hook up with the ploughs waiting in the lands. There was a red team, a black team, and a motley team. They started ploughing by five in the morning with a break at about ten o’clock. The oxen were then outspanned near water and allowed to graze before the afternoon shift.” Johan also remembers the first time the “Vaaljapie” – the TE20 Ferguson tractor –arrived on the farm to take over the two-share plough from the oxen. This speeded up the ploughing process and the work could continue non-stop for the whole day. “The tractor was paraffin-driven but had to be started on petrol. Once the engine had warmed up, the fuel tap would be switched over to power

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paraffin, commonly known as ‘Voco’. After the Vaaljapie came the 35 and then the 135; followed later by the 65 Ferguson with its long nose, and even later the 188’s. That is how we became MF people and today we are still loyal to the brand; we are Massey Ferguson people!” Johan’s son, Japie, is the sixth generation Landman to farm the Landman lands. Similar to the string of Massey Fergusons, a string of Landmans was born to continue the legacy. Today Japie is responsible for crop farming and his father, Johan’s focus is on animal husbandry. “I’m fond of the new technology,” says Johan, “but Japie is the younger generation who understands it better.” Japie says their previous sprayer did not have the capacity to deal with the work in the available time window. He saw the MF 9330 in the act in Brazil and back home consulted his local MF dealer, Werner Nel of JWL. JWL is one of the formidable dealers countrywide that distribute the range of agricultural mechanisation solutions from top manufacturer,

AGCO. Brands in the AGCO corral are Massey Ferguson, Valtra, Fendt and Challenger. AGCO recently decided to play a bigger role in the direct importation and distribution of these brands in Africa to establish a shorter, direct route to the farmer. Lenard Langenfelder, regional representative of AGCO in the Eastern Region, says farmers will still be able to obtain all the products and services from their well-known local dealers, but AGCO now supports these dealers directly with the procurement of products, technical know-how and marketing. The office section in the giant AGCO warehouse in Kempton Park was enlarged recently to accommodate an expanded team. Werner, with the assistance of AGCO, recently availed a test unit to Japie, which he used on the farm for approximately 250 hours before he took ownership of his own MF 9330 high-rise sprayer. The sprayer had to be deployed immediately because the mealies were growing at an astounding pace after a copious amount of rain

in the area. An official handover ceremony was arranged for 15 December and ProAgri was present to view the new technology. The performance of the new MF 9330 high-riser The sprayer really has long legs. For Japie, ground clearance is an important factor. It means he can also spray late in the season when the maize is at its highest. The sprayer has a ground clearance of 1,65 m, and the beam can be raised to a height of 2,1 m, or lowered to a mere 0,7 m. This enables effective pre-emergence spraying of newly planted mealies. The beam is 30 m long, but stability over uneven terrain presents no problems. Robbie Hall, AGCO’s technical product manager, says this third generation sprayer in the 9-series (that is what the ‘93’ in the MF 9330 represents) is fitted with a Norac 9 ultrasonic system. Similar to a bat, the units send and receive sound waves to determine and maintain the height. One can select to maintain a specific height above soil or plant level and the height can be adjusted without stopping the machine. Japie says another major consideration in favour of the MF 9330 was the fact that it was already fitted with all the advanced precision technology. “There was no need to invest in further equipment program packages to enable precision applications with automatic steering technology. Everything is fitted as standard on the machine.” There are two touchscreens in the cabin. On the

top screen the track the sprayer has to follow, and the application of spray, can be set, and on the lower screen the operator can see exactly what the situation is in every section of the sprayer. The information can be relayed by telematics to the computer in your office or to your cell phone or be downloaded from a USB port. The beam can be divided in seven to nine sections; closing down a section is facilitated with air pressure, which is quicker than the electric control of certain other sprayers. The sprayer also compensates automatically during turns by sending more liquid to the outside arm than to the inside arm, ensuring that there wouldn’t be a spot that is left unsprayed. “Everything is aimed at the sprayer working smoothly and exact in spite of any changeable factors such as uneven terrain. There are no welded joints on the flexible chassis and even when the wheels lift over bumpy terrain, or lower into depressions, the beam remains at a constant height. “What I also appreciate,” says Japie, “is that advanced technology is applied, but the operation is simple. One is not overwhelmed when climbing into the cabin and seeing an environment resembling a spaceship: there is a steering wheel, a control system in the arm support and two screens, allowing the operator to do everything required to ensure a quality crop.” The 30 at the end of the MF 9330 model number denotes that the sprayer has a 3 000-litre tank.

There is also the MF 9335 with a 3 500-litre tank. Japie says he can go a long way with 3 000 litres and refilling is straightforward with the aid of the 568-litre/minute refuelling pump, which can also pump water from a dam if required. The tank is fitted with a set of double hydraulic stirrers to ensure even mixing and, when you want to change the spray formula, the tank is cleaned with a spray from the 240-litre clean water tank with an oscillating spray nozzle. Furthermore, there is a tank for handwashing with a tap at a convenient height. To fill the tank with spray liquid, the spray tank – with a wide filler opening – is pulled down from above to hip height to ease the operation and prevent danger or spilling of the spray liquid. All four wheels of the spray have hydrostatic drive and double action valves, ensuring that they receive the required oil flow, even if the engine is running at low revolutions such as 1500 rpm. The front wheels do the turning work and the turning circle is a tight 7,6 m. The dependable 6,6-litre, sixcylinder AGCO Power engine is the heartbeat of the sprayer. All in all, the customer is very happy with the new MF 9330 sprayer, which has, and continues to perform beyond expectations. Local dealer JWL continues to be at the customer’s service, testimony that AGCO’s dependable nationwide dealer network can be relied on to offer unparalleled service support to its customers.

Japie Landman, Werner Nel, Robbie Hall and Lenard Langenfelder

March - April 2021| 17


How Does Climate Change Affect the Ocean? Emily Heaslip


his year brought some bad news on the climate change front: researchers found that ice is melting faster worldwide, and there’s a greater sea-level rise anticipated. The rate of ice loss each year has increased by 60%. A study of the Greenland ice sheet found that there are at least 74 major glaciers that are being severely undercut and weakened. These statistics are dire for our oceans and the future of the planet. As glacier ice melts, it changes the chemical makeup of the oceans; and, since the oceans directly regulate the weather, changes to our oceans affect our food supply, air quality, disaster preparedness, and more. How climate change affects the ocean is complicated and touches virtually every aspect of our lives. Here’s a quick overview of the relationship between climate change and oceans, and why it’s imperative that we work to reduce ocean climate change. Climate change and sea level rise There’s no question that climate change has caused sea levels to rise. But, sea-level change has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. Since 1880, the average sea level has risen eight to nine inches; a third of that gain has come in the last two and a half decades. Rising sea levels can be mostly attributed to meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets, as well as the thermal expansion of seawater as it warms. Climate change and sea level rise are a big deal for coastal communities — and in the US, nearly 40% of the population lives in high populationdensity coastal areas. Around the world, eight of the 10 largest cities are near a coast. This puts a huge percentage of our population at risk for flooding, shoreline erosion, and storm hazards. Our infrastructure — roads, bridges, subways, power plants, water supplies, and more — are all at risk from sea level rise. Flooding isn’t the only danger of higher sea levels. Rising sea levels will impact our drinking water, food supply, and overall health. “As sea levels rise, saltwater intrusion into freshwater increases the salinity of groundwater basins and well water. This reduces crop yields and the availability of safe drinking water. It also increases the risk of hypertension, as well as vectorborne and diarrheal disease,” said one joint report by the Public Health Institute and the Center for Climate Change and Health.

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Finally, climate change and sea level rise will threaten wildlife populations and coastal ecosystems. Trees growing near the coast will struggle to find enough freshwater to grow; even those further inland won’t be able to survive repeated flooding by salty seawater. Wildlife populations that make their home along the coast will struggle to adapt to erosion, flooding, and changes in plant life. Sea birds and sea turtles that make their nests on the shoreline won’t be able to reproduce and will face extinction. Ocean acidification and climate change The on-shore effects of climate change are just one side of the story. The chemical make-up and temperature of the ocean is also changing. Climate change is causing increased rates of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is a process by which the pH of the ocean is reduced over an extended period of time, making the ocean more acidic. This is primarily caused by an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean,” explained NOAA. “When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, a series of chemical reactions occur resulting in the increased concentration of hydrogen ions. This increase causes the seawater to become more acidic

and causes carbonate ions to be relatively less abundant.” As we emit more CO2, the ocean becomes more and more acidic. The pH has dropped by 26% over the last century (to become more acidic). What does this mean for climate change and the planet? First, marine ecosystems will struggle to survive. Acidification particularly impacts shellfish and coral reefs — organisms that need carbonate ions to make their shells and skeletons. Acidification reduces the availability of carbonate ions, preventing these populations from thriving and disrupting delicate ocean ecosystems. Through Sofar Ocean’s partnership with Aqualink, research teams are able to take advantage of the world’s largest real-time ocean data platform to visualize temperature and other data from coral reef sites around the world. By aggregating data and providing greater transparency to sensor and model data, researchers are able to pinpoint with greater accuracy where ocean acidification and climate change are taking their toll. It’s not just marine ecosystems that are struggling due to ocean acidification. Warming ocean temperatures are bad for the fishing industry, too. Warmer oceans lead to toxic algal blooms. “Toxic algae produce domoic acid, a dangerous

neurotoxin, that builds up in the bodies of shellfish, posing a risk to human health. As a result, many West Coast fisheries have been forced to shut down,” wrote the Union of Concerned Scientists. Some scientists have linked ocean acidification to atmospheric warming — bringing us to the third impact of ocean climate change. Ocean circulation and the climate Ocean circulation regulates the temperature of our planet. It works like a giant “conveyor belt” to bring heat from the Equator to the higher latitudes. “As warm water from the tropics flows toward the poles in wind-driven currents near the surface, it cools, becoming denser and heavier, and eventually sinks. It then begins flowing back toward the equator in a slow journey deep in the ocean,” explained Inside Climate News. Critically, the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation has slowed by about 15% since the middle of the last century. Weaker currents are at the root of a host of problems: increased rates of ocean acidification, higher sea levels, more extreme temperatures (hotter summers and colder winters), coastal ice jams that impede marine shipping routes, and the collapse of certain aquaculture operations.

The stats on ocean climate change are alarming. We know it’s time to lower our carbon footprint — an effort that starts with better data and more affordable technology to increase the breadth and depth of data collected. As our partnership with Aqualink shows, a unified knowledge base can lead to better strategy and planning to slow

down the rate of ocean climate change. It starts with more affordable and more accessible data collection — the driving force behind Sofar Ocean’s Spotter buoys. To learn more, click here. This article originally appeared on sofarocean. com.

EIMA: dates and programmes for 21-22 A timetable with deadlines and obligations marks the organizational stages of EIMA International 2021, the great exhibition of agricultural machinery to be held in Bologna from October 19 to 23. The dates have also been set for the next edition, which will be staged from 9 to 13 November 2022.


he FederUnacoma organisers have defined the approach to EIMA 2021 and have already set the dates for 2022. For the 2021 edition, to be held in Bologna from 19 to 23 October, exhibiting companies have received from FederUnacoma a timetable with the technical and organisational steps to be taken in preparation for the event. Meanwhile, the next edition is already scheduled for 9 to 13 November 2022 and will mark the return of the Bologna exhibition to its traditional location in November of even years. The timetable for the current year envisages the assignment of the exhibition areas inside the exhibition halls by 16 April, and an important deadline is also 15 June, the day from which it will be possible to buy exhibition tickets online. The organising offices of FederUnacoma, which are working to define the operating procedures of the ticket office, are aiming to make the most of IT tools, namely the EIMA International 2021 website and App. The objective is to increase

remote purchases and named tickets to eliminate any crowding near the entrances and to monitor accurately the attendance inside the exhibition centre. 5 July is the deadline for updating the information to be published in the official catalogue of EIMA International 2021: this is the date by which exhibiting companies must communicate any changes in their personal data or in the range of products on display. “This communication”, reads the circular sent by FederUnacoma to the almost 1,600 exhibiting firms already booked (other requests to participate are arriving in these days from Italy and abroad), “must be forwarded through the event’s website designed to speed up operations. The internationalisation initiatives, which have always been a strong point of the Bolognese exhibition, will come to life immediately after the summer, in the month of September. FederUnacoma is working together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International

Cooperation and the ICE Agency to define the arrival of foreign operators according to the protocols and the “green corridors” established by the authorities in order to facilitate the safe participation of visitors and businesspeople. From 5 September, and until the start of the exhibition, the organisers will periodically send all participating companies a note with information on the possibility of entry into Italy from specific countries, the length of time operators will be able to stay in Italy, and any kind of initiative aimed at facilitating the safe presence of exhibitors and visitors. In recent weeks, the ICE Agency, in collaboration with FederUnacoma, has been working to select the most qualified delegations for business-to-business meetings. The large number of foreign delegates invited to Bologna will be defined by 30 September, the day on which Italian exhibiting companies will be able to start booking “B2B” meetings, choosing among the selected profiles those most suitable for their product sector.

March - April 2021| 19


Poultry production The Moral - Read the Fine Print Before Signing Trade Agreements!

may have overlooked when signing so-called economic partnership agreements with the EU or EU countries. The EU demanded the systematic removal of both tariff and nontariff barriers in Africa to EU poultry meat products.

The lesson to be drawn from the decimation of local chicken production in African countries by cheap poultry imports from Brazil and the EU is the importance of thorough due diligence prior to signing trade agreements.

In his analysis fair trade proponent, Chris Ward, a Canadian-based health policy and international development consultant and a member of FairPlay, laments the scale of the oversight and the naivety of the decision: “Seduced by EU promises of barrier-free access to trade with Europe, many African countries have been cajoled into lowering their own trade barriers, which protect sensitive agricultural industries such as poultry. “This observation coming from someone who was Government House leader and minister of education in Canada should not be taken lightly.

By Nick Barnes


f there is one moral - if one would call it that -from the devastating impact of chicken portion imports on Africa’s poultry industry is the need to read the fine print in future bilateral trade agreements between individual countries and the EU. African countries overlooked this and their cost of this oversight has been colossal. In the atmosphere of high emotions, it is easy to blame EU or countries in other parts of the world with huge poultry industries. However, as it has emerged, African countries are complicit in the creation of the current crisis or co-authors of their own fate when one considers decisions that then then ministers of trade took over two decades ago.

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African countries were overexcited for their poultry products to have access to lucrative markets of the West, which they could not previously without barriers. The US dollars gained would translate in more revenue in local currency, so they ingenuously assumed. Agreements were signed without necessary due diligence. This would turn to be mortgaging the sovereignty of the local poultry industry to, at best, the lowest bidder, or at worst, for free. The biggest oversight Palpably, the biggest oversight was ignoring the reality that the playing field in was not level in poultry production. Poultry producers are highly subsidised in EU, and indeed, most western countries. This is a fact which African countries

Later, the hasty signing of agreements would turn to be carte-blanche for unfettered dumping of large volumes of brown meat portions (unwanted frozen chicken parts and offal) in African countries at prices which bear little relationship to production costs in the EU and/or lower than they are selling the same product in their home markets. In South Africa, prior to COVID-19, the GM of South African Poultry Association (SAPA)

broiler organisation, Izaak Breitenbach, recently said dumping margins of up to dumping margins up to 201% had been found.

Levelling the playing field

Effectively, what African countries thought was signing ‘win-win ‘bilateral trade agreements’ has turned to be grossly lop-sided in reality. EU countries only import 7% of their poultry producers, the rest is source domestically. The chicken come home to roost The chickens have come home to roost (no pun intended). The oversight of African countries when signing the trade agreement has occasioned a crisis of epic proportions on poultry production in African countries. In many countries, the situation paints a sorry picture of decimation of local production. Unable to compete, local producers have scaled down production or closed for good. This has resulted in massive job losses as producers have been faced with no other option but to lay off staff to remain sustainable. Two countries that are classic case studies of this are South Africa and Ghana. South Africa has been losing a lot annually, reaching a record of R6.1 billion (US$ 403 million) in 2018. This, in a country with an unemployment rate of 40%, is devastating. The money could have been invested in developing or growing local production and create jobs. In Ghana, dumping has destroyed the domestic poultry industry. 20 years ago, Ghanaian producers used to supply 100% local consumption, now they are hanging on to 5% of market share, which even is under threat.

The benefit of hindsight While countries are moving heaven and earth to save their local poultry producers, it is important to reflect on how what go them to the current state. With the benefit of hindsight, it is rational for Africa countries to own up to their mistake and admit that they could have done the necessary due diligence prior to signing the agreements. Presumably, future trade negotiations will be done better from an informed position. Ideally, all trade partners are obliged to play the game by World Trade Organisation rules. Sadly, the reality is different: in the dog-eatdog world trade arena, as the poultry crisis has demonstrated, rules are seldom followed, as big economies, using their might, flout them with little or no recourse, to benefit their industries.

South African producers have been unequivocal in condemning unfair trade practices by producers from the EU and other countries. In response, South Africa has imposed 82% tariffs on imports from Brazil and the USA, while creating conducive conditions to develop local capacity to give South African producers some room to breathe. This is effort is ‘“Levelling the playing field”, as the SAPA calls it. “When it comes to food security, job creation and poverty alleviation, domestic production has to be prioritised in any economy, with the buy-in and support of all trading partners.” Granted, rebuilding or regaining whatever capacity was lost won’t be an event buy a painful process. Inevitably, they will be sacrifices too, as the saying goes “You can’t have it both ways,” as recent impact of tariffs on local poultry prices are a case in point. It would be interesting to observe how things will pan out in South African poultry end of first quarter of 2022.

Produce your own chicks the easy way!

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March - April 2021| 21


20% more eggs: Easy and efficient egg production with EasyStep56


ith EasyStep56, the German poultry equipment supplier Big Dutchman offers a clever system for layer management destined to support developing egg production industries in Africa. A comparison with traditional barn egg production systems shows 20 % more eggs that are much cleaner, a five times lower mortality and no feed losses. Due to the wellarranged layout of the cages, the birds do not get dirty from manure dropping down. This contributes to improved hygiene and increases the health and well-being of the birds. EasyStep56 has been designed for 56 layers. The stable management system for layers is supplied in two handy packages (total weight: 55 kilograms), which allows comfortable transport in a larger car or pickup truck. Switching locations is no problem thanks to the compact design: two persons can lift the assembled and empty system onto a suitable transport vehicle. EasyStep56 has been developed by Big Dutchman in a way that makes assembling the system very easy, because only the three tools included in the delivery volume (pliers, open-ended spanner and hexagon spanner) are required. No other tools are necessary for assembly. All parts are pre-drilled and pre-cut upon supply. Since no electricity is needed, EasyStep56 can be put into operation immediately.

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Durability and efficiency Big Dutchman uses only high-quality materials for its products. The metal parts in EasyStep56 have been galvanized in a special treatment process, making them extremely weather-resistant and the perfect choice for tropical climates. This unique premium quality stands for four times longer service life compared to the standard galvanization of our competitors. Feed and water supply Big Dutchman has put decades of experience into the development of the easy-to-access trough, thus making feed wastage a thing of

the past. Two tanks with a capacity of five litres each guarantee that both tiers receive the correct amount of water. The nipple drinkers are installed at an easy-to-reach height that enables the birds to consume water in an ideal and healthy manner when they stretch their necks. The nipple pipe breather has two tasks: a ball indicates the fill level of the drinker lines, and the breather valve of the pipe lets air escape when necessary. Ideal water supply without interruptions is thus guaranteed. Manure removal and soil fertilisation Additionally, EasyStep56 can be used as fertilising system because manure falls directly onto the ground. Since the system is easy to move when it is empty, this is a flexible and efficient option for fertilisation. About Big Dutchman Big Dutchman designs and distributes feeding systems and housing equipment for modern poultry production. Our name is a trademark for quality, rapid service and unsurpassed knowhow. With our economical and environmentally friendly solutions all geared to future needs, we have established ourselves as market leader. We plan to make sure it remains that way and are always at your disposal.

Turnkey solutions for successful animal production Since 1938: your reliable partner in the Middle East & Africa

Big Dutchman International GmbH P.O. Box 1163 I 49360 Vechta I Germany big@bigdutchman.de | www.bigdutchman.com


Complete family of poultry scales


onitoring the flock and following recommended weights at particular ages are a basis in growing and maintaining a top performing flock as well as reaching profitable target weight with broilers. A birds’ performance increases over the years, but on the other hand, they demand more precise treatment. The more input and more precise data you have, the better decisions you can make, the better results you have. BAT poultry scales family from Veit Electronics includes all tools that are essential for poultry weighing. Both manual and automatic poultry scales together with a cloud based application for data processing bring premium features and quality to more than 70 countries all over the world.

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Manual weighing is a tricky activity in the poultry business. When it is executed incorrectly, with inappropriate tools, it can be an inaccurate, time and money consuming, useless activity leading to distorted data and making bad decisions. While, on the other hand, using appropriate tools will give you the most accurate and detailed weighing ever. Veit kept this in mind when their BAT1 manual poultry scale was developed. A large graphic display, high memory capacity and a long battery life are just a few features that make work easier. Automatic weighing is a helpful, smart solution on how to acquire important data on a daily basis. Veit’s BAT2 automatic scale is a tireless helper, capable of continuous weighing

together with reducing the human factor to a minimum. The power of daily overviews is further improved with a suitable way of transferring statistics from the scale to you. When the daily gain is not as it should be you receive this information quickly. When you are warned in advance, you can act and avoid possible serious consequences. BAT Cloud is the safest and most convenient place for your weighing data, serving as an optional on-line service where you can view, store and compare statistics from all of your scales. The weighing results are easily accessible anytime and anywhere.

Ecobiol® Stabilizing the gut flora – with probiotics Stress, varying feed quality, opportunistic bacteria: maintaining intestinal balance in livestock isn’t always easy, especially when undigested nutrients in the gut result in overgrowth of pathogens. Ecobiol® takes out the guesswork by con sistently supporting a healthy gut microbiome for enhanced well-being and animal performance – top priorities in poultry production. animal-nutrition@evonik.com www.evonik.com/animal-nutrition

Evonik Africa (Pty) Ltd. Animal Nutrition Dr. Alain Useni IBG Business Park 11 Enterprise Avenue Midridge Ext 10 Midrand 1685, South Africa Phone: +27 11 697 0760 E-mail: alain.useni@evonik.com


A Good Growth Plan for Africa – achieving the sustainable reset of agriculture farmers have opportunities to sell their products. That requires tariff and non-tariff barriers to be removed and simple common rules and standards where possible. To this end, Syngenta strongly supports initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area. The company also stands in solidarity with Africans who are concerned about rising global protectionist trends that limit market opportunities, including deviations from international food standards. Helping farmers fight climate change Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and exacerbated pest infestations.


he Syngenta Group is keenly aware of its responsibilities towards the sustainability of our planet. For the company, as leading agricultural business and known for its solutions towards crop protection, this means playing their part in producing more and better-quality food and to drive a better, greener recovery of the environment. The commitments in Syngenta’s new Good Growth Plan will help the company achieve its objectives despite ongoing challenges, particularly climate change, and new ones, such as Covid-19. “As Syngenta South Africa, we regard ourselves privileged to be in and of Africa, the continent that holds the key to global food security. With more than 60% of the world’s arable land, Africa has the potential to help produce the additional 50% food needed globally in 2050. Yet, currently it produces only 13% of its own food needs and is home to more than half of the world’s population facing food insecurity,” says Antonie Delport, who heads up Syngenta in South Africa. The reset button has to be pushed, not only for the sake of the people of Africa, but for the entire world. The sustainable reset of agriculture in Africa will help eradicate hunger and poverty and attain the UN 2030 Sustainable Development

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Goals. It can be achieved by: 1. Helping farmers, including smallholders, increase productivity sustainably; 2. Enabling access to finance; 3. Helping farmers fight climate change and building resilience to its impact; and 4. Free and fair market and trade opportunities. Producing more, sustainably Syngenta equips farmers with the necessary inputs, innovation and training to help them produce more, sustainably. In Africa, the company has trained over 500 000 farmers on health and safety and good practices so that agriculture and biodiversity flourish together. “Here in South Africa, our specific focus is on training farmworkers to use our products safely, in the interest of the health of people, animals and the environment. We do this through hands-on training events on farms, distribution of information through our agents and the publication of training material and educational articles,” adds Delport. Free market solutions Trade can be a great engine for growth and sustainable development if we allow free market solutions to deliver benefits for all, so that

Syngenta has a strong focus to help farmers fight climate change, for example, by equipping them with good agronomic practices that help keep carbon in the soil. In addition, the company is known for providing pest control solutions at all stages of the crop cycle, from high-quality seeds that are better able to withstand fall armyworm, to seed treatment and crop protection. In South Africa, Syngenta has branched out into financial solutions to help de-risk climate change and help farmers become more resilient to its impact: • AgriClimeTM is a financial solution through which Syngenta shares the risk of yield losses caused by drought with the producer. The scheme allows producers to reclaim a portion of their Syngenta purchases – in cash – at the end of a low-rainfall season. • CultiVault™ is a Syngenta spending account that enables producers to invest in top Syngenta technology, by giving them the flexibility to manage their input costs according to available cash flow. Syngenta remains at the forefront of agricultural technology, this is indicative of its most recent breakthrough is its ADEPIDYN™ technology, a new active ingredient for broad-spectrum fungal control. Syngenta South Africa will continue working with farmers and its partners to achieve the sustainable reset of agriculture that Africa needs to feed itself and the world better and more sustainably.







POLMAC S.r.l. Via Statale Sud, 137 - 41037 Mirandola (MO) ITALY - Ph.: +39.0535.20004 - Fax: +39.0535.26595 - info@polmac.it - www.polmac.it


Farm more productively, more comfortable and bigger…the choice is yours


s a world leader in agricultural technology, John Deere is focusing on helping farmers to overcome the challenges of farming. That is why the 8R-series of tractors is the largest, strongest and most technologically advanced tractors ever to be put into the market by this international farm equipment manufacturer. These tractors provide remarkable choices and options, allowing each farmer to be more productive with the backing of the latest technology which contributes to an exceptional experience. Technology is AT the heart of every effective and sustainable agri-business. That is why John Deere has designed the 8R-series to ensure that technology also increases the experience of operating the tractors.

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Under existing economic conditions, it makes sense to use every cent wisely. For your equipment to deliver the best results, they must be used to their optimum for your benefit. John Deere is there to help you achieve this goal. Therefore, the 8R-tractor provides you with a world class transmission option. With the revolutionary e23™ transmission, you have the option to choose one of three different options, and of which the Efficiency Manager™ is the favorite. With 23 forward gears and 11 reverse gears, the e23™ provides smooth shifting between gears in combination with the desired engine power. If you are looking for the reliable mechanical pulling power of the PowerShift, as well as the ability of the AutoPowr/IVT, the e23 is the correct option. With 23 forward gears and

11 reverse gears, the e23 combines smooth shift quality with power and response. Automated features like AutoClutch, Efficiency Manager, full AUTO mode, custom mode, and Eco provide AutoPowr/IVT-like precision in a PowerShift transmission. The 8R-series is available in five-wheel tractors and three track models. The internationally award winning 8RX-model is the first fixed-frame fourtrack tractor and has been specifically designed to protect the soil without impeding efficiency. The tractor boasts the least soil compaction of all models in its class, with a maximum track width of 3 meters. The 8R range now offers a level of comfort that will allow you to work longer hours, without even noticing it. With the 3 options of Comfort Cab packages - Select, Premium or

Ultimate – new clients can look forward to features like air conditioning, leather seats, complete seat swivel to monitor your implements behind the tractor more clearly, a built-in refrigerator, and a Bluetooth compatible sound system. The styling of the 8R-series cab interior puts it in a class of its own. Practical improvements include wider access steps, a lower outside door handle for easy reaching, a bigger door opening angle, and extra headroom. User convenience is further improved by the Independent-Link Suspension (ILS™) system. With the ILS™, operators do not have to worry about turning ILS™ on/off, since the John Deere advanced electronic management system knows when to disengage ILS™ automatically. The ILS™ system gets more power to the ground because the front tyres maintain ground contact pressure. This improves field and transport ride, plus increases ballasting flexibility and drastically decreases the tendency to power hop.

Productivity goes hand in hand with profitability, therefore the John Deere 8R-series now gives more attention to visibility. To allow for longer working hours, the tractor features more lights to illuminate the immediate surroundings of the tractor for nighttime working.

and 5 reverse gears allows for total operating pleasure. The transmission shifts automatically to lower or higher forward or reverse speeds as required by immediate conditions. If the tractor has to make a headland turn, the transmission will automatically shift down to reduce engine rpm.

The 360º-LED lighting system is 60% brighter than before. Sunshields for the day and cameras at the front and rear of the tractor are further additions to increase visibility. Customers can select one of three available transmissions options, with the e23™ Transmission, with Efficiency Manager™ being one of the popular decisions. This versatile transmission allows you to choose the ground speed, while the tractor chooses the gear ratio, maintaining the lowest possible engine speed to suit the terrain.

The AutoPowr transmission also ensures more pulling power at lower speed, and it is possible to plough more hectares per hour by selecting the desired fuel efficiency for the required operation. At the same time, the re-circulation of exhaust emissions allows for cleaner emission gasses and better fuel efficiency.

Clever and practical gear transmission technology makes it easy to operate the 8R-series. The John Deere Automatic PowerShift transmission with 16 forward gears

John Deere: W ith a rich history of more than 140 years in South Africa, John Deere is a trusted, world-renowned leader in producing turf, agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery solutions with state-of-theart precision technology. With its continued focus to strengthen its presence throughout the Africa Middle East region (“AME”), John Deere AME serves its customers through more than 218 dealer touch points across Africa

Middle East and support its dealer network with a Regional Parts Distribution centre in South Africa as well as sales and marketing offices in South Africa and Kenya. Committed to delivering a distinctive customer experience coupled with solutions-driven advice from its authorised dealer network and John Deere Financial Solutions, John Deere AME is geared to promoting food security while actively

“Why should you wait and delay? Contact or visit your nearest dealer today to discuss the various options offered by the 8R-series tractors. Take the decision to farm more productively, efficiently and comfortably”.

driving a successful and inclusive agricultural community. With core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation, John Deere AME remains dedicated to the success of its customers, to those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, clothes, shelter and infrastructure.

March - April 2021| 29


First and still the best CALLISTO® entered the herbicide market in 2001 as the industry’s first solo mesotrione product. Today, nearly 20 years later, it is still among the top-ranking choices of growers worldwide for weed control in maize.


n 1977, a Syngenta scientist noticed the absence of plants beneath the bottlebrush tree in his backyard. He investigated and found that the plant, Callistemon citrinus, secreted a natural compound with herbicidal activity. This knowledge and years of research resulted in the development of mesotrione, a synthetic version of the natural compound. Mesotrione belongs to the triketone chemical group and is the active ingredient in Syngenta’s CALLISTO® herbicide. CALLISTO® was quickly adopted by growers around the world for its effectiveness against broadleaf weeds. Courtesy of its natural origins, the product poses no threat to people, other organisms or the environment if it is used correctly. That early success continues today. Furthermore, because of the synergistic effect of mesotrione with other active ingredients, Syngenta was able to formulate a range of one-can solutions known as the Proven CALLISTO® Technology family of products. Why CALLISTO® is the smart farming choice CALLISTO® is a systemic herbicide that moves both up - and downwards in plants. It is taken up through the leaves, stems, seeds and roots, and is fully distributed throughout the plant within only 24 hours. It is rain fast within an hour of application on broadleaf weeds and within three hours on grasses. Plants and weather conditions are unpredictable; hence its adaptability is one of the greatest

advantages of CALLISTO®. The product can be applied before and/or directly after the crop and weeds have emerged, and control a wide spectrum of weeds. Application volumes are furthermore determined by the weed spectrum, and not the percentage of clay in the soil. CALLISTO® requires as little as 3,2mm of rain to be activated and can be successfully included in crop rotation programmes. The only condition is that the necessary waiting periods must be observed before specific crops are planted after a CALLISTO® application. For potatoes, for example, the waiting period is 6 months and for wheat and barley it is one month. Always consult the product label to ensure adherence to the correct waiting periods. Formulation design makes all the difference In addition to mesotrione’s inherent effectiveness, it is Syngenta’s formulation design that holds the key to CALLISTO®’s exceptional efficacy. Our formulation expertise enables us to realise mesotrione’s full potential, resulting in optimal outcomes for growers. Syngenta’s formulation key unlocks four important benefits that improve effectiveness, increase crop and environmental safety, and ensure value for money. 1. Small and uniform particle size prevents the clogging of nozzles, ensures even distribution of the active ingredient in the field and increases biological activity, which




accelerates the breaking down of the active ingredient in the environment. The latter decreases the risk of carry-over from one season to the next. Stabilising agents prevent the active ingredient particles from settling and resulting in irreversible sedimentation in commercial packs. This makes the handling of commercial packs more convenient and ensures optimal shelf life. The agents also inhibit the clustering of active ingredient particles that can block sprayer nozzles, and promote consistent weed control by delivering the right amount of active ingredient in the spray tank. The CALLISTO® formulation controls foaming during tank filling and application operations. This prevents inaccurate spray volume measurements, costly delays and active ingredient losses, as well as environmental contamination that can occur when foam spills from the tank. The built-in antifreeze agent prevents irreversible frost damage during transport and storage, and ensures that the product remains stable regardless of weather conditions.

The combination of mesotrione’s natural benefits and Syngenta’s excellent formulation design, ensures that CALLISTO® and products that contain Proven CALLISTO® Technology are always the smart choice. Growers can count on CALLISTO® to take out the toughest and most problematic broadleaf weeds, even those that are difficult to control with triazines.

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Which mushroom growing farms need an automatic climate control system? In fact, such an investment will be useful to any mushroom farm that wants to ensure long-term viability of a business based on mushroom production. The facts are as follows: the climate is constantly changing, and an appropriate and stable climate for the mushrooms makes fungi grow faster and leads to increased profitability. Continuously maintaining it at the most optimal level allows us to achieve maximum yield per kg/m2 of mushroom cultivation. Why manage the mushroom farm’s climate automatically? • to achieve maximum yields thanks to continued maintenance the ideal/desired climate, which is crucial for the growth of fungi with the highest yields, • to avoid wasting time, money and energy on manual control/climate management and thus creating the right conditions when the system can do so for us in an automatic and more precise way, which in effect translates into increased profitability of the mushroom farm • in order to be able to achieve a very high cost-effectiveness of all mushrooms growing activities by maximizing the use of cultivated areas. Why choose our climate management system? 1. It is proven and reliable. It’s based on high quality components, which we have developed with attention to even the smallest details - thanks to this our system has been operating in mushroom farms all over the world since 1980 (i.e., over 30 years). 2.

It is super-friendly and easy to use. It has a touchpad to control the whole system, and everything can be controlled remotely through a computer. 3.

It is suitable for every mushroom farm. We can easily adapt it to a mushroom farm of any size, volume and geographical location (country, city).


It is flexible and supports external devices. We are able to adapt it to existing and operational peripherals (e.g., valves, transducers, etc.) which the mushroom farm already has and other specific essential elements of the system which the system will be able to manage. We achieve this versatility thanks to the huge number of inputs and outputs in the driver for external components.

central unit temperature sensors

electric switchgear

CO2 measuring device

external meteo station



5. It is supported worldwide. Fancom equipment is used by mushroom farms around the world, and permanent support and service is also provided remotely (online) whenever necessary.

Uni Plug adapter


Let’s face it: the implementation of an automatic

Supports the most demanding mushroom farms. The system allows you to control a very wide variety of devices that affect the climate of the mushroom farm, i.a. refrigerators, heaters, inverters, valves, fresh air dampers, exhaust fans and other devices. In addition, it allows very precise control of individual parameters, e.g. air humidity through the so-called control of the “humidity deficit”, which affects energy savings as well as the accuracy of the parameters obtained. What is our climate control system composed of? Basic system components: • Fancom computer • ISM measuring module • compost temperature sensors • dry-wet sensor

In conclusion: who should choose automatic climate management?

climate management system of the mushroom farm is an investment of considerable size and requires important work to be done within the facility, which must be done well and precisely.

However, if the mushroom farm wants to gain long-term profitability and advantage over local, as well as foreign competition, it is worth investing in an efficient, proven and continuously supported and developed solution, adapted to the needs of your mushroom farm, and thus also cost-effective.

The article was created in cooperation with Michał Kustusch from GROWTIME, a producer and distributor of professional equipment for mushroom farms worldwide. For more information, visit growtime.eu/en

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Giving biofortified foods a boost in Tanzania


hen it comes to modernization, Staffan Bäcketoft’s focus isn’t only on his business interests, but on the health and welfare of his 200 or so dairy cows as well. Together with his wife Martina, he runs an organic dairy operation called the Bäckeby Farm located outside the town of Målilla in the southern Swedish province of Kalmar. In order to increase labor efficiency as well as improving the lives and the health of his animals, Bäcketoft decided to switch from conventional to automated milking. At the same time, an automated feeding system from GEA would optimize the animals’ feed supply. Women are the backbone of African agriculture and have been unequally affected by the impacts of the COVID pandemic. And yet, despite the acknowledged inequalities, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making at community through to policy level. This year, International Women’s Day is celebrating women leadership and how women can provide role models for each other. Interventions like mentorship provided as part of agripreneur competitions remain pivotal in empowering women into leadership positions and, in turn, inspiring a new generation of women leaders in agriculture. Jolenta Joseph, a Tanzania entrepreneur has built her business tackling malnutrition, an endemic problem in Tanzania, thanks in part to the support she has received since winning the 2020 SUN Pitch Competition. As one of only two women from Africa to win the competition, Jolenta was the recipient of the US$10,000

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volumes and expanded our product range and customer base as a result of the investment we received,” enthuses Jolenta. These developments have enabled Sanavita to access new markets and more customers in Morogoro town, in eastern Tanzania, where the company is based. “We have also realized that there are so many other products that we can produce with biofortified crops to provide to different categories of consumers,” Jolenta adds. Cultivating farmer networks and growing community awareness With new equipment enabling faster processing, Jolenta needs more OFSP supply from farmers. Since 2018, she has doubled the number of farmers to 2,000. Of these, more than 1,500 supply over 5 tonnes directly to her each week. To ensure supply and quality, Jolenta provides training in good farming and management practices. Food Technology Innovation Prize, awarded by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the mentorship prize from AGREA, a Philippine-based social enterprise working on sustainable farming. Despite the challenges brought about in 2020, the financial support and mentorship provided as part of her award has enabled Jolenta to develop her enterprise, Sanavita, which uses nutrient-rich crops to produce healthy products. “Since the Sun Pitch Competition in July 2020, we have bought new equipment, increased our

In addition, Jolenta has used her prize money to establish a 0.4 ha OFSP multiplication site, which doubles as a training centre. Farmers are given cut high quality, disease-free vines certified by the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute-Kibaha. “As we seek to improve nutrition at the household level, we want these farmers to consume OFSP in their own homes and only sell us the surplus. I am very glad to see those attending the trainings are seeing the value of this approach,” she explains. Besides these community events, Jolenta has also worked with 10 primary and secondary schools, which invited Sanavita to introduce cooking demonstration lessons while training students on the benefits of biofortified foods.

Sanavita is also collaborating with government regional health coordinators to introduce cooking demonstrations in clinics targeting pregnant and lactating mothers. Succeeding despite the challenges Jolenta attributes the success of the awareness campaign and the growing partner network to the support she has received from Cherrie Atilano, the CEO of AGREA, who provided the mentorship award for the Sun Pitch Competition. “Cherrie has been remarkable in teaching us how to scale the business and identify new opportunities,” emphasises Jolenta. To capitalize on the lessons learnt as a result of this support, Jolenta is looking to advise other food business entrepreneurs. She emphasizes that their core mission should be to change lives even as they build their enterprises. “You cannot compromise on quality. If we are to give our products a high rating in the market, then we have to invest heavily in ensuring that the quality of our products is top notch,” she advises. To help further enlighten the community on the role of biofortified crops in improving nutrition in Morogoro Municipality, in December 2020 Sanavita hosted the first in a series of awareness

campaigns. The event targeted influential people the company hopes will become agents of change, and attracted 75 participants, including education and health officials, religious leaders, community-based organizations and the media. A Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) representativealso participated to provide insights into sustainable nutrition solutions and the value of biofortified products among businesses.

Undaunted by the setbacks the enterprise has faced, as the appetite for biofortified foods grows in rural and urban areas, Sanavita is now looking to scale operations to Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro towns. Despite the towns being far from Morogoro, where the business is based, word of mouth and recent publicity in the local media is stimulating demand for more of Sanavita’s nutritious products.




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March - April 2021| 33


Industry leading digital farming platform Climate FieldView™ launches in South Africa The Climate Corporation, Bayer’s digital agriculture arm, expands its global footprint to advance datadriven innovation for farmers around the world


he Climate Corporation, Bayer’s digital farming arm, has announced the commercial launch of its industry-leading digital farming platform, Climate FieldView™, in South Africa. Adopted by farmers in more than 20 countries and on more than 60 million subscribed hectares globally (150 million acres), this new addition marks a major milestone for the company as its first expansion onto the African continent. As the world becomes hotter and hungrier, farmers are pursuing new solutions to help produce the food, feed and fuel that power the planet. With the FieldView platform, The Climate Corporation and Bayer are pioneering the digital agriculture industry to help farmers actively manage risk and increase productivity while simplifying their operations. Through its suite of easy-to-use data collection and analysis tools, FieldView offers farmers a single platform to unite data from each piece of their precision equipment – including tractors, planters, sprayers and combines – and access those insights from anywhere with a smartphone, tablet device or computer. “Digital technologies are showing major promise in the agriculture industry and have the power

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to unlock many valuable insights on the farm, but the use of technology can sometimes be intimidating,” said John Raines, chief commercial officer at The Climate Corporation. “With FieldView, we work to ensure our product is both easy to access and easy to use, so farmers can take control of their own data and utilize these insights to make more informed decisions.” South African farmers now have access to industry-leading data science capabilities and digital tools, and can digitize their operations. To get started, customers can connect field data through the Climate FieldView™ Drive device, a piece of hardware that farmers can insert into a diagnostic port in the cab of their precision equipment. It uses bluetooth technology to stream agronomic data from the equipment before being synced with their FieldView account. Farmers can also upload data generated by their equipment directly into their FieldView account through the Data Inbox tool, which does not require the use of the FieldView Drive. All FieldView users have full control of their farm data. They choose if, how and when to share their agronomic information. If they feel it benefits their

operations, farmers can choose to share their insights with a trusted agronomic partner to help make data-driven business decisions. As the digital agriculture landscape continues to evolve, innovative technologies such as Climate FieldView™ are reaching widespread adoption in regions around the world. In 2020, South African farmers tested FieldView on more than 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) and were able to experience the value the platform has to offer, prior to its commercial launch. In addition to supporting row crop farmers through digital tools like FieldView, Bayer has committed to empowering 100 million small-scale farmers by 2030 through relevant technologies and initiatives, such as the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) TELA Maize Project, Farm to Market Alliance, and the Better Life Farming Alliance. First launched in the United States in 2015, FieldView has quickly become one of the most broadly adopted platforms in the industry. For more information, visit www.climate.com.


Land rights are an integral part of human rights however, it remains important that all efforts are made to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. We need to carefully look at initiatives that have worked and replicate these. Furthermore, the way in which land is used should be profitable to the beneficiaries that these efforts seek to aid. “It will be helpful if the state can shed more light on whether procedures announced provide safeguards against the process being captured by elites and what form of property rights will prevail. These are crucial issues that need to be addressed if this important gesture by government is to really benefit the intended recipients,” says Setou.


his year marks a watershed moment in South Africa’s history when the country commemorates the death of 69 people who were killed, and hundreds wounded, when police opened fire on a crowd protesting for the abolition of repressive pass laws. This historic day on 21 March 1960 has come to symbolise the relentless struggle for human rights and the restoration of human dignity for the indigenous African population who were forcibly displaced from their land through draconian and racially discriminatory laws. Despite the repealing of repressive legislation such as the Land Act of 1913 – which allowed successive Nationalist governments to forcibly take large tracts of land from black people -– and the promulgation of progressive laws aimed at redressing the wrongs of the past and restitution of land to its rightful owners, limited progress has been achieved to change the racially skewed land ownership patterns in South Africa. “Integral to the commemoration of Human Rights Day should be the need to acknowledge that the land reform programme forms the nucleus of human rights in South Africa,” says Peter Setou, Chief Executive of the Vumelana Advisory Fund. Vumelana is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2012 to help beneficiaries

of the land reform programme put their land to profitable use by establishing commercially viable partnerships between communities and investors. According to Setou, the unresolved land question forms the cornerstone of centuries of struggle against colonialism and decades of resistance against institutionalised racism. Any celebration of human rights devoid of the resolution of the land question does not fully recognise the role played by the gallant men and women who formed part of the 1960 struggle that has resulted in the fundamental rights we enjoy today. Setou points out that while the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down progress on land reform, as scarce resources were allocated to the relief programmes and to curb further transmission of the virus, it remains important to ensure that the drive to expedite land reform continues in order to restore dignity, which in some communities only the implementation of the required changes to land reform can resolve. Setou notes that the announcement by Treasury that it will allocate R896.7 million to fund post settlement support, and the allocation of 700 000 hectares of underutilised and vacant state-owned land to black farmers, are welcome developments. In implementing post-settlement support,

He further highlights that the current legislative reforms aimed at amending Section 25 of the Constitution by sourcing public input on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill are commendable. However, it is critical to note that legislative intervention alone will fall short of attaining the noble ambitions of addressing past injustices if lacklustre political and the structural impediments to land reforms remain intact. Failure to deal with matters requiring urgent attention will compound the problem, slow progress, and contribute towards rising dissatisfaction. The importance of having policy certainty on the land reform programme cannot be overestimated, as it is a prerequisite to attract muchneeded investment by the private sector, but we should resist the temptation to believe that this will be a magic wand that will fast-track the land reform programme. “The implementation of a successful and sustainable land reform programme cannot be divorced from human rights – the two are inextricably linked. Celebrations of human rights would be hollow for millions of black people so long as challenges in land reform remain unresolved,” Setou concludes.

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GEA finds the right balance for organic dairy farm Camphill Village A unique farm in South Africa reaches for its boutique dreams


or small organic dairy farms, finding the right level of automation is key. For Camphill Village in South Africa, updating to a smart GEA in-line milking parlor was the best solution for improving efficiency without losing the handson approach the unique farmers require in their daily work. Thanks to their efforts and the modernization of their milking parlor, residents of greater Cape Town have access to high-quality dairy and other farm-fresh foods year-round. Camphill Village was established in 1964 as a residential facility, where today, nearly 100 adults with diverse disabilities and special needs are given an opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. With challenges ranging from brain injuries, intellectual disabilities and down syndrome, Camphill provides its residents a safe haven where the focus is on getting “stuck in” by creating useful, value-added products. Set on a 220-hectare farm near Philadelphia just north of Cape Town, the organization added a jersey dairy herd and milk processing facility to its operations in the late 1980s. Alongside it’s flourishing produce, herb and bakery activities, the Camphill Village dairy has continued to thrive over the years, providing organic dairy products for the residents and surrounding communities. The income from the dairy provides critical funds for the residents who live onsite full time and for paying the support staff. But increasing

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raw material handling and dairy production had remained a long-standing challenge for Camphill. The original milking equipment, purchased in the 1980s, was long overdue for an upgrade, along with the dairy processing facility which suffered from an outdated design hindering flow and processing efficiency. A modern milking parlor that suits its special needs The relationship between Camphill and GEA kicked off in 2018 when Camphill Farm Manager, Antonius Verhoeven, got a glimpse of GEA milking equipment in action at a trade fair. Soon after, a GEA Farm Technologies team began working closely with Camphill’s management team to find the right milking solution for their needs. The equipment and installation would need to deliver on: process optimization, ease of maintenance and repairs, improved hygiene and safety. Two years later, with financial support from German NGO Rays of Hope and some goodwill investment from GEA, Camphill was able to replace its bucket milking system with an in-line “flat” milking system featuring a 1x8 point high line layout. This meant the new parlor could be installed without altering the existing building or major construction work. In this case, it was necessary that the milking equipment meet modern standards but without a high degree

of automation since residents benefit from maintaining close contact with the cows during milking. In fact, this physical interaction is considered to have therapeutic benefits. The integration of a system for recording milk enables the farm to automatically collect and store data about individual animals. This tool, coupled with the integration of DairyPlan Herd Management Software, allows the team to take informed decisions related to production, health and fertility and means they can effectively grow the milking herd over time. “We chose GEA because their team patiently listened to and responded to our myriad of questions – kindly assisting us even before we had committed to purchasing anything. The installation was accompanied by friendly, easy to understand explanations of all the equipment as well as hands-on training for our people,” says Antonius Verhoeven, Estate Manager & Farm Manager, Camphill Village, describing the outstanding partnership with GEA. Increased milk production and dairy processing output leads to stable income Thanks to these important upgrades, which have improved availability and reliability parameters, the dairy operation at Camphill Village has a much higher throughput of milk products and provides a more stable income stream. Today, with just under 30 cows currently being milked out of a herd of 50, Camphill will finally be able to increase its milk production and dairy processing output. James Sleigh, CEO, Camphill Village, sums up the common success: “Thanks to the excellent advice, service and equipment from GEA, our dairy operation has a more secure and bright future. As one of the economic engines of our organization, the dairy supports the important work of our residents and their ability to live purposefully, while providing the local communities with quality organic dairy products.” Building on this solid foundation, Camphill would like to see their operation become a showcase that attracts more locals and those further afield, including tourists and other aspirational organic dairy farmers.

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Solving for hunger and agriculture sustainability with the platform economy of various stakeholders. It also has immense potential to deliver social impact in the current environment and beyond. Standard Bank’s OneFarm Share, for instance, is safeguarding the sustainability of farmers while also contributing to food security. Matching the tremendous needs of organisations that provide food relief with farmers of all sizes with excess supply, OneFarm Share has the potential to contribute to driving sustainability of the agricultural sector and reducing hunger and malnutrition.


he Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated South Africa’s social challenges, mostly seen throughout the country by dramatic increases in hunger and malnutrition. The need for food relief is now greater than ever, with over 12 million South Africans unsure of where their next meal will come from. At the same time, however, current estimates show that about 10 million tonnes or 30% of local agricultural production in South Africa is wasted each year. This is equivalent to an estimated R60 billion annually, or 2% of GDP. Farmers are well aware of the dire need for food relief but feel unable to meet it without a clear mechanism to manage requests for donations and an efficient, quick, and transparent process to donate their produce. Furthermore, the pandemic environment has significantly altered agricultural supply and demand. Through the closure of restaurants, school feeding schemes, farmers’ and fresh produce markets and reduced grocery shopping, the demand for fresh produce and other perishables, during levels 3-5 of lockdown, significantly shifted. Emerging and smallholder farmers experienced disruptions to their supply chains. Farmers have, at times, been sitting with excess stock, and without buyers, this stock has been dumped or destroyed at cost to the farmer. Even in level 1, we will feel the effects for a while to come: with an additional 2.2 million people unemployed, travel still to return to normal levels, suppressed

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usage of the hospitality industry and many other contributing factors. These challenges are by no means unique to SA and are being experienced by emerging markets across the continent. The pandemic environment has also pushed millions of Africans into poverty as incomes vanished, creating an overwhelming need for feed relief an assistance. Agribusinesses in Africa still face various challenges – of which access to market is a significant one. If one can create easy access to market, especially for smaller farmers, the risk of financial failure is reduced, and their economic activity can contribute to uplifting communities through employment.

The OneFarm Share platform gives farmers and food producers access to a marketplace that coordinates the procurement and distribution of food to charities and their beneficiary organisations. Reducing poverty is arguably Africa’s greatest developmental challenge, and growing the agricultural sector is key to achieving a transformational impact. The continent boasts significant untapped agricultural potential that can solve for ever-increasing global food requirements. In order to partake successfully in a global arena and to address important issues such as food security and limiting waste, it is critical that the full agricultural value chain is developed. This can effectively unlock processing, value add, and trade of products in favour of the continent.

Food insecurity for many was accentuated by Covid-19, but existed prior to the crisis, and given the dynamics of the economic reality, is likely to continue in some shape and form in the future.

It is impossible to overcome this alone. An ecosystem involving multiple players will ultimately close the gap. This is what motivated Standard Bank to pilot the OneFarm platform project in Uganda in 2019. The initiative brings together multiple players from within financial services and beyond to provide services to and connect players within the agricultural value chain. It is our vision as Africa’s largest financial services organisation to become leaders in providing and creating innovative solutions that help to grow key sectors on the continent and solve for key development issues such as poverty reduction.

The rise of the “platform economy” is one recent development that offers a way to tackle food relief and recreate markets for farmers in the post-Covid-19 recovery period. Embodied by the likes of Uber and Amazon, the platform model is driving efficiencies across various industries, including agriculture, and improving the lives

We will continue to find new ways to support our clients and create a positive meaningful impact through innovative solutions. OneFarm Share, for example, supports the assistance of aiding the food security crisis in South Africa whilst aligning to Standard Bank’s positioning of doing business the right way.

While some buyers of produce may have disappeared, demand has not died. It has simply shifted, and supply chains have not been able to adapt fast enough. This has created an opportunity to help suppliers adapt by matching their excess supply to a different source of demand – the relief market.

March - April 2021| 39


Undercover farming Opportunities beckon in water-efficient farming Undercover farming offers more opportunities for sustainable farming to farmers in Africa, in comparison with landbased farming. This is true especially in an environment in which climate change has driven the world to reconsider traditional methods of farming.


ver 60% of the Africa’s population is involved in small holder farming, in one form or the other (McKinsley Report, Winning in African Agriculture 2019). Somewhat, in the past this served the subsistence requirement for staple food, save for years of famine when western donor agencies had to intervene to provide assistance. Nonetheless, two ongoing developments have emerged as risks to the sustainability of this traditional method of farming: climate change which has resulted in drought conditions and depletion of arable land due to population growth. As you would expect, this has raised concerns about future food security.

that have risen to prominence in the past decade as a viable option is undercover farming (also called tunnel farming). Undercover farming is a new parlance for farming with hydroponics in greenhouses.

Drip irrigation is managed through pre-set electronic system that also controls the interior climate (humidity, airflow and temperature). The ultimate objective is to create conditions that permit optimal plant growth.

What is hydroponic cultivation? In hydropronic cultivation, plant roots are suspended in oxygenated water instead of soil in a controlled environment inside greenhouse structures (plastic tunnels and multi-spans) and shade netting, which offers protection against possible wind, hail and bird damage. To meet irrigation requirements, micro-irrigation and a drip irrigation system are used.

What do farmers benefit? There is no question that undercover farming offers more opportunities for sustainable farming, in comparison with land-based farming. This is true especially in an environment in which climate change has driven the world to reconsider the traditional method of farming.

Evidently, this situation calls for the urgent exploration of alternative methods of farming that can help manage growing drought condition and land scarcity. Interestingly, one of the methods

In micro-irrigation, moisture is delivered in a fine mist. In drip irrigation, single drops of water are delivered at a regulated rate at the base of the stem.

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i. Water efficiency The primary advantage of a hydroponic system is that it uses little water. If optimised, hydroponic system can little as 30% of the amount of water typically used to grow a similar crop on open land under irrigation. Also, there is less water

lost through evaporation. At about 10 percent, the rate of water used lost through evaporation is significantly low. ii. Elimination of human error The system is largely computerised to avoid human error as far as possible. Nutrients and oxygen needed are controlled in the water. Unused water is recycled, filtered back into the system. Moreover, a lean staff can be able to manage a modern greenhouse, thanks to advances in technology, save for cleaning the area, looking for pests and harvesting. iii. Other benefits Dr Johnny van de Merwe, an agricultural economist from the University of the North West’s Potchefstroom campus, did an analysis on the quality and yield of hydroponic greenhouse vegetable production and open field production in 2019. His study concluded that, in comparison with open-land farming, undercover farming offers the following benefits: • Higher yields. • Better quality crops. • Soil and environmental conservation. • Out-of-season crop production through internal environmental manipulation. • Environmental control by regulating light intensity, temperature and humidity. • Better pest and disease management. Does the investment really pay off? It is worth acknowledging is that undercover farming does not come cheap, and not many can afford it in the current economic climate. It is very capital-intensive, hence the preserve for the ones with the financial means. One of the costliest aspects is filtration. Before water is supplied to plants in an undercover farming system, first it must be filtered through expensive systems to remove possible pollutants. Also, the technology required to monitor this system comes at a cost. Power outages too

may necessitate investment in alternative power sources like solar power systems and generators, which may drive up the initial investment. On the other hand, it could be argued that the high costs in undercover farming can be offset by the substantial returns it brings. The initial investment may appear prohibitively high. However, the reality is that it may be almost the same as, or, in some cases even cheaper than the cost of setting up a conventional farm on open land. For a properly established operation with right planning and qualified staff, with diligent management, the return on investment could be realised somewhere between 20 and 30 months. Conditions are ripe On the whole, circumstances dictate that conditions are ripe for undercover farming has to be adopted in mainstream agriculture. Besides being the means of coping with worsening drought conditions and depletion of arable land as abovementioned, new developments

augur well for the future of undercover farming. Amongst numerous others the main positive factors are the growing appreciation of a healthy lifestyle which include vegan dishes, as well as the demand for specialised crops like cannabis for pharmaceutical use. A lucrative venture Developments in South Africa demonstrate that undercover farming could be a lucrative business in Africa. Already, table grapes, nuts, citrus, deciduous fruit, avocado, apples and berries are grown in greenhouses in all the country’s nine provinces. Currently, the Department of Agriculture in South Africa has not published statistics on the number of undercover farming operations in South Africa. But one thing for sure, opportunities beckon. Credits: Hydroponics and undercover growing - Digital Agriculture and Farming handbook.

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Our productive land is in decline, so how can we keep up with the increasing demand for food?

Land degradation Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, United Nations to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said: “According to the latest science, one in four hectares of ice-free land in the world is severely degraded, and up to 70% of our land has been altered by human activities. Up to 2.1 billion people in the world are directly affected by land degradation, and half of humanity – more than 3 billion people – are indirectly affected in some way. That’s a major challenge we’re facing now. The good news is that there are solutions; we are still able to reverse the situation.” Dr Susan Chomba, Regreening Africa Project at World Agroforestry, said: “In Africa, around two thirds of our agricultural land is extremely degraded. That means declining agricultural productivity and, therefore, less income for farmers. It also means farmers are constantly abandoning areas where productivity is low, and moving to virgin lands that can be able to produce more agriculture.”


oil is a finite resource, and it can take up to 1,000 years to produce a single inch of top soil. Over 90% of the food that feeds both humans and animals relies on soil as its foundation, but soil is now under threat like never before. It’s estimated that, by some measures, up to 40% of agricultural soils are degraded in some way, and that figure is rising. It’s the first five to ten inches of soil that contain almost all the precious nutrients, but this top soil is at the mercy of the elements. Amongst other threats, it can be physically blown away, washed away, or have its nutrients leeched away. In episode five of the BBC World News and bbc. com series, Follow the Food: The Promised Land, renowned botanist, James Wong, investigates how some farmers are exploring radical new methods, hoping not only to stop the decline, but even reverse the damage. Regenerative agriculture Regenerative agriculture rehabilitates the ecosystem of a farm, and improving soil health is at its heart. Tilling, or turning over the soil, is stopped or reduced, crop rotation is encouraged, along with diverse protective cover crops. Agricultural chemicals are cut back, and livestock may be introduced. Jeff Aalund, an oat farmer in North Dakota, is trying a technique called regenerative agriculture. He said: “I like to farm with more focus on what I’m passing onto the next generation, and doing it with the attitude that you’re doing something good for the land, and you’re doing something good for

42 | March - April 2021

yourself and your family. I was sceptical at first, but I’ve seen what it can do and I’m absolutely sold on this type of farming. In just one season, I couldn’t believe how much the land changed. On the soil structure, the way the crops responded the next season.” Sections of Jeff’s farm were so bad, he was unable to grow anything, but that’s changing fast, and it’s a solution backed by global food giant, General Mills, a USD $17 billion food company, and one of the oldest in the United States. Jeff Harmening, Chairman and CEO at General Mills, said: “We are the first company, globally, to set a target – we want to have regenerative agriculture on a million acres by 2030. When we talk about regenerative agriculture, we are talking about agriculture that actually regenerates the soil – that helps sequester carbon, that helps maintain water, and maintains nutrients in the soil. If you think about 90% of the top soil being degraded over the next 30 years, we need to act now.” General Mills has been providing farmers, like Jeff Aalund, with mentors to help them switch to the new techniques. Harmening added: “We have about 45 oat farmers we’re working with, along with experts. We work with those farmers to determine what kind of crops they ought to develop. They have every reason to want this to work because the climate is changing so much - they see more rain; they see more drought. What we’re planning on is showing the world that this actually can work, so it’s just a start, but it’s a good start and a big start to prove the theory of the case.”

Regreening Africa is an ambitious, EU-funded, sub-Saharan project, with agroforestry at its heart. They’re aiming to help 500,000 households restore a million hectares of agricultural land by 2022 in countries including Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somali and Rwanda. “Regreening Africa is a programme that is looking at the problems of land degradation. The African continent has huge areas that are arid and semi-arid, and in those areas, you will see just small short shrubs that don’t seem to grow into trees. There’s a lot of potential in converting those shrubs into trees, and tree planting is a win-win scenario because they take carbon from the atmosphere and convert it into the biomass that they are growing in. It’s extremely critical for climate change,” said Dr Chomba. Samwel Ondiek Sana, a smallholder farmer in Ogongo and a participant in the programme for the past three years, said: “When I came to my farm, my farm was bare - it was deserted and degraded – and I thought I should change it. I embraced the issue of planting trees, and started with the Calliandra trees because it has a lot of uses. It improves soil fertility and it helps with soil erosion. It cools the running water, and it provides food for my animals. It’s quite important for my farm.” After planting Calliandra trees on the border of his farm, Samwel noticed big changes in his soil, and he is now a leading figure in his community, training others in agroforestry and natural regeneration methods to protect the soil. Source BBC World News : --Follow the Food: The Promised Land


Soil health is the world’s health and farmers’ wealth


global community advocating action to improve soil and root health was launched on 1 March with the inaugural One Earth, Root and Soil Health Forum. More than 800 people attended the online event to discuss how to unlock the potential of better soil and root health to help transform food systems and improve climate resilience. The Forum was hosted by, among others, Syngenta Seedcare and the Syngenta Foundation, and brought together experts from farming, international organisations, NGOs, academia and the public and private sectors. In his keynote address, the CEO of the Syngenta Group and chairman of the Syngenta Foundation, Erik Fyrwald, noted that the link between soil health, food security and climate change is not immediately evident, mainly because life “down under” is a mystery to most of us. “Yet, around 25% of the planet’s biodiversity is found in its soils, and soil is the planet’s second largest carbon store,” he noted. This is just one of reasons why Syngenta, a global leader in crop protection and seedcare solutions, has committed itself to restoring 3million hectares of degraded farmland per year. “Unsustainable cultivation practices release thousands of tonnes of carbon from soil every year, which contributes to climate change and depletes the soil of the nutrients essential for food production,” Fyrwald said. The situation is particularly dire in Africa, which is home to 60% of the as-yet-unfarmed arable land in the world. The continent’s rich but vulnerable soils are already degraded due to poor farming practices. It is also one of the areas where climate change will have the biggest impact on agricultural yields. According to Dr Steve Maund, head of global product safety at Syngenta, taking better care of the world’s 1,5 billion hectares of farmland, is humankind’s most viable option to reverse climate change through increased carbon storage. “Healthy soils and plant roots can

help our world to become carbon neutral,” he said.

cultivars and weed control to limit the negative impact of plant-parasitic nematodes.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that around 38% of global crop land and 21% of grassland are degraded, leaving soil unable to provide other ecosystem services, such as water purification and storage. When soil health is compromised, all these vital functions – food production included – come under threat.

Van Zyl highlighted the benefits of seed treatment as a management tool. “It ensures the chemical is placed exactly where it is needed, namely around the seed and the roots of the developing seedling. Seed treatments also target only plant-parasitic nematodes, allowing the beneficial species to do their good work.” Finally, producers can combine a fungicide with a nematicide in a seed treatment to prevent secondary fungal infections.

The impact of agricultural practices In the forum’s South African parallel session, participants focused on the impact of nematodes – a serious soil pest – on root health and the early development of crops. Professor Driekie Fourie, nematologist and researcher at the School of Biological and Agricultural Sciences at North-West University, shared research findings that indicate nematode pressure increases over time if populations are not managed, and that crop rotation systems currently used in South Africa are conducive to nematode build up. She emphasised the need for a holistic management approach, given that plant-parasitic nematodes often open the door to secondary fungal infections and that these disease-nematode complexes worsen crop damage. “We are also concerned about the discovery of a new nematode species on maize and soybean in the Highveld region,” says Professor Fourie. “It underlines the urgent need for a more pro-active approach towards nematode control.” Stefan van Zyl, Seedcare business manager South Africa, and Hennie le Roux, ABInBev model farm manager, concurred and highlighted the need for creative solutions. “There is no silver bullet,” said van Zyl. “A holistic approach that includes a variety of integrated pest management practices, is needed.” While seed treatment is the first line of defence against plant-parasitic nematodes, it has to be supported by other management practices such as in-furrow applications, the planting of nematode-resistant

“Pest management and conservation agriculture are vital to reduce disease pressure, improve soil health and work more responsibly with chemicals,” said le Roux. “It all adds up to a more profitable farm.” The importance of crop protection, particularly in terms of root health, cannot be overstated. This was clearly illustrated by Professor Richard Sikora, former head of soil-ecosystem phytopathology at the University of Bonn, who said that producers currently give away as much as 30% of their yields to pests and diseases. The call to action is clear: farmers, especially Africa’s millions of smallholders, have to be empowered to be the primary caregivers of the soil in the interest of food security and climate change management alike. The one Earth, Root and Soil Health Forum was organised by Agventure, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Rizobacter, Seed Co Limited, Syngenta Seedcare, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Solidaridad and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). https://soilroothealth.com/

March - April 2021| 43






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NTN.....................................................................................................OBC PANBO Systems....................................................................................05 Polmac SRL...........................................................................................27 Randox..................................................................................................IFC SERRA Maschinembau ........................................................................13 Surehatch...............................................................................................21 Zoomics..................................................................................................37

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SOLUTIONS FOR TOWED MACHINES BENEFIT FROM THE KNOW-HOW OF AN EXPERT Place your trust in NTN-SNR, for the excellence of your equipment and guaranteed performance for your customers. Having partnered the world leaders for 100 years, we have developed solutions combining robustness, technical advances and reliability. From working the soil to harvesting, we offer a dedicated range of bearings, bearing units and maintenance solutions. We innovate for the world of farming, why not with you?


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Farmers Review Africa March-April 2021  


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