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Volume 9. Issue 3 May/June 2021

Mobile grain dryers Increased drying, quality harvest and a healthy population

In this issue... Stainless steel milk cans P16

Understanding genetics in poultry farming P26

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African Migratory Locusts threaten livelihoods in Southern Africa P42

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Volume 9. Issue 3 May/June 2021

CONTENTS

Increased drying, quality harvest and a healthy population

Botswana suspends imports of cloven-hoofed animals and their fresh products from South Africa

Understanding genetics in poultry farming P26

FARMERS

REVIEW AFRICA

Editor’s Note

News

Mobile grain dryers

In this issue... Stainless steel milk cans P16

Volume 9. Issue 3. May/June 2021

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Africa is yet to fully embrace sustainable agriculture compared to western countries. Yet, the benefits of sustainable agriculture are enormous. By modernizing farming methods and by utilizing available technology, Africa has the potential of changing its economic fortune for the better.

African Migratory Locusts threaten livelihoods in Southern Africa P42

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Executive Editor Anthony Kiganda editor@farmersreviewafrica.com Writers Silimina Derick, Bertha M. Contributing Writers Nqobile Bhebhe Zimbabwe Oscar Nkala Botswana Bertha M South Africa Anita Anyango Kenya Project Manager Victor Ndlovu sales@farmersreviewafrica.com Art Director & Layout 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, arobia@farmersreviewafrica.com eastafrica@farmersreviewafrica.com Published by : Mailing Times Media +27 11 044 8986 sales@farmersreviewafrica.com

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Niger to inject 15% of budget into Agriculture

OPINION Accommodative SARB and growth rebound positive for the pumping agriculture sector

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AGCO Africa presents Africa Agribusiness Qualification to tackle youth unemployment

Save energy and irrigate more profitably with AGRICO’s GPS based Web Control

In fact, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) believes that Africa must transform or modernize its agriculture, primarily to feed itself and reduce dependency on imports for agricultural and food items, while fostering the sector to drive the industrialization process. FAO estimates that over 256 million people in Africa are currently in dire need of food, a new high after decades of progress. Countries in Africa should come up with Agricultural policies that spur farm productivity and commercialization while at the same time conserving the natural resources on the continent.

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Demand for food is on a rising trajectory which could mean a boon for African economies and the rise of industries such as agro processing. As such, experts are calling on governments and private sectors in Africa to boost productivity and run farms as modern businesses, and strengthening the links between farms and other economic sectors in a mutually beneficial process to make sure agriculture is driving Africa’s industrialization. This could mean that the hunger incidences that are frequently reported in Africa could be a thing of the past.

Anthony Kiganda

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editor@farmersreviewafrica.com

Feeding a Hungry Planet

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

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NEWS

Botswana suspends imports of cloven-hoofed animals and their fresh products from S. Africa

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he government of Botswana has suspended imports of cloven-hoofed animals and their fresh products from South Africa. This follows an outbreak of foot and mouth disease was detected in the neighbouring country. The ministry of agriculture made the announcement and said the move aims to protect the country’s cattle industry. Live animals, their fresh products as well as veldt grass, bedding and manure contaminated products and vehicles from South Africa are in the ban list. Foot and mouth disease Foot and mouth disease does not affect humans but poses a threat to cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and sheep. The disease (FMD) is endemic mostly in African buffalo (Syncerus

suspicious lesions. The country said it was investigating the extent of the outbreak.

caffer) in the Kruger National Park (KNP) and surrounding game parks in South Africa. The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in infected animals, was detected in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province last week after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing

Kenya, Burundi inks seven deals to boost bilateral cooperation

Botswana is one of the largest beef exporters to the European Union but has often suspended sales in the past due to the disease outbreaks from its neighbouring countries. Beef exports amounted to US $61 million in 2019, according to Botswana’s central bank data. The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in infected animals, was detected in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province last week after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing suspicious lesions.

post-Covid-19 recovery plans, and that the two countries would back the 4th replenishment campaign of the Global Partnership Education (GPE), which aims to raise at least US $5 billion for investment in education. The two leaders agreed to continue working together in advancing the African agenda on the global stage, and reiterated their countries commitment to the progress of the East African Community (EAC).

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enya and Burundi have signed seven agreements that are aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two East African nations. The agreements were signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Burundian counterpart Evariste Ndayishimiye at the Kisumu State Lodge, Kisumu County in Kenya.H.E Evariste Ndayishimiye arrived in the country today morning for his two-day official visit. The cooperation agreements which were signed touched on agriculture, public service, foreign affairs, trade, sports, and culture. President Kenyatta said the two countries have agreed

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to strengthen and deepen their long-standing fraternal relations with the aim of fostering sustained socio-economic development. Post-Covid-19 recovery plans “The cooperation between our two countries is built on a solid foundation of shared values and principles; to foster sustained socio-economic development and transformation of our two countries, a vibrant and united East African Community, and an integrated and prosperous Africa,” said President Uhuru. Uhuru also announced a resolution by Kenya and Burundi to prioritise education in their

Kenya-Burundi bilateral ties “On regional cooperation, we exchanged views on various development matters in the East African Community (EAC); and reaffirmed our commitment to continue working together in championing the EAC integration agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063. On international cooperation, we reiterated our commitment to continue working closely at the level of the United Nations (UN), with a view to advancing the Common African Agenda for Integration and Sustainable Development,” said H.E Uhuru. As part of efforts to strengthen Kenya-Burundi bilateral ties, two leaders agreed to review the 2018 Joint Permanent Commission for a Cooperation agreement with a view of ensuring expeditious implementation of agreed-upon agreements. “We are enjoying the ties between our two countries both in investments and trade. I recall the role Kenya played in peacekeeping in Burundi and the facilitation of trade through the port of Mombasa, and Kenyan investors already working in Burundi,” said President Ndayishimiye.


NEWS

Over US $17bn pledged to increase food security in Africa

strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programs to create opportunities for young people particularly women. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said it aimed to provide an additional US $1.5 billion to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems in Africa over the next three years. IFAD will also invest more in creating the preconditions for increased agricultural productivity. The organization is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region. This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.

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Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted the event in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization.

Seventeen African heads of state signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies. African Development Bank and the UN’s International

The funds will be invested in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development. Of the overall amount pledged, more than US $10 billion came from The African Development Bank, which said it would invest US $1.57 billion on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years. This will help countries achieve self-sufficiency. Another $8.83 billion will go towards building

ver US $17billion in financing has been pledged by a coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners to address rising hunger on the African continent, and to improve food security. These funds were pledged on the final day of a twoday high-level dialogue called Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), committed up to US $1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture, while the Islamic Development Bank Group said it would earmark US $3.5 billion to develop the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. These investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops. Moreover, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest US $652 million in the next three years. This will be used support agricultural research and development initiatives in Africa.

Science fund grants US $3.3M for agriculture innovations in West Africa

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ne of Africa’s biggest science funds, Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) has rolled out US $3.3million in grant for innovations in agriculture, targeted at universities and research institutions in West Africa. Under the accelerating inclusive green growth through agri-based digital innovation in West Africa (AGriDI initiative), the Nairobi-based PASET will fund proposals in 15 West African countries that largely constitute the Economic Community of West African States. Innovators from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo are eligible. The target groups include; universities, research institutes, legally registered small and medium enterprises, farmer cooperatives, private sector corporations, technology hubs, innovation labs, start-ups, community-based organisations, civil society organisations, government ministries,

departments and agencies. Scientists and innovators have been tasked to come up with ground-breaking ideas that can help grow the agricultural productivity in the region. Deadline Applicants have been given until received until 30 June, while winners are likely to be announced in the last quarter of 2021. At least 12 proposals will be funded for up to a minimum of US $184,000. While the grants are focused on the West Africa region, individual scientists, researchers and innovators from other parts of Africa can take part as collaborators. However, they can only do this by bringing in a critical skill or expertise. “Agriculture in Africa is transforming fast, away from subsistence to commercial farming. Digital innovation is accelerating this transformation, and is becoming an important factor in farm productivity, and access to markets,” Ecuru, Head of the AGriDI project. AGriDI initiative

The AGriDI initiative is funded through the ACP Innovation Fund of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and is financed by the European Union. It is being implemented by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, in partnership with Benin’s University of Abomey-Calavi, the Agropolis Foundation and Kenya’s Gearbox Pan African Network. The insect centre also hosts the PASET-RSIF Regional Coordination Unit. “The innovations also provide an opportunity for improving the efficiency and profitability of agricultural production in Africa. These grants will provide a means to facilitate the development and utilisation of digital technologies, such as through the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, to enhance production, advisory services, marketing and policy of food systems in West Africa,” added Dr Moses Osiru, the head of PASET.

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NEWS

Morocco’s OCP Africa celebrates African farmers, sustainable Agriculture programs to benefit African farmers by contributing to the development of integrated agricultural ecosystems,” said the company’s press statement. “OCP Africa develops programs designed to be even closer to the farmers by developing its understanding farmers’ needs to better respond to them and being at the heart at the heart of a synergy combining advice, support and agricultural ‘best practices.’”

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CP Group, Moroccan state-owned phosphate rock miner, phosphoric acid manufacturer and phosphate fertilizer producer, is joining today’s celebration of Africa Day by paying tribute to Africa’s small-holder farmers and pledging to further its efforts in the development of sustainable agriculture in Africa. In a press statement, the Moroccan company reiterated its determination to accompany African farmers in the challenge of making the continent’s agriculture more productive and competitive. For OCP, a large part of winning the dire-looking food security battle is to reclaim - and support - the “transition from subsistence farming to valuecreating agriculture.”

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Together with its proven record as a global leader in sustainable practices and its growing continental presence, OCP Africa seeks to promote experience-sharing across the continent to strengthen intra-African cooperation in the agriculture sector, argued the statement. Driving the implementation of OCP Group’s African ambitions is OCP Africa, a subsidiary the Moroccan company launched in 2016 to play a front-seat role in the continent’s fight for food security. New technologies “For the past 5 years, OCP Africa has been implementing a wide range of projects and

Now operational in 16 African countries and looking to further its continental outreach, OCP Africa is increasingly focusing on innovative agriculture by introducing new technologies to the agricultural strategies of countries where it has subsidiaries. This includes digitizing some phases of the agricultural process and training small-holder farmers to make the most of the inexorable digitization of the global food market. More than one million African farmers have benefited from OCP Africa’s programs so far. The company thrives through partnerships with African governments and other important stakeholders in the continental agriculture market, as well as “the implementation of innovative solutions to meet Africa’s needs for a sustainable transformation of its agriculture.” As its continental outreach grows, the OCP Group believes it has established itself as an essential actor and promoter of continental development. On a more technical front, OCP Africa has invested in research that has culminated in the deployment of “fertility maps, soil analyses and the development of new customised formulas, adapted to the needs of soils and crops” to modernize African agriculture, noted the statement.


NEWS

Beneficiaries To translate its commitment to “sustainable agricultural development, integrated soil fertility management and [tackle] climate change,” OCP Africa has in recent years launched four main projects to drive its modernization of African agriculture and its empowerment of small-holder farmers. First is the “OCP School Labs.” Consisting of “a mobile school, mobile laboratories and a digital device,” the scheme is led by teams of agricultural engineers and is aimed at helping farmers benefit from “multi-year support and technological solutions to stay connected or in direct contact with their agricultural advisors.” The initiative offers interactive training sessions based on easy-to-digest and practical educational materials to “raise awareness of good agricultural practices among local farmers.” To date, more than 420,000 farmers have benefited from this program in 9 African countries. Second is the “Agribooster” program, which OCP Africa describes as “an inclusive development model aimed at providing farmers with the best conditions to increase their yields and develop their productivity.” The program operates by helping local, small-holder African farmers have

access to “a complete package of products and services while strengthening links with the market.” Green revolution It also provides farmers with quality products and services, notably through the supply of inputs (fertilizers, phytosanitary products, hybrid seeds), training sessions on best practices in rational fertilization, as well as access to potential buyers on the market financial services (especially credit loans). Since its inception, the program has reached 630,000 farmers in 4 countries across Africa, where it has also helped farmers increase their yields by 30%. Third is the “farmer’s house” project. According to OCP, this is a “comprehensive distribution solution that addresses the challenges of availability and accessibility of agricultural inputs.” The statement added, “Each farmer house is equipped with a classroom, storage room, office space, well, tricycles, digital soil analysis laboratory, greenhouse, smart mixer, etc.” 51 farmer houses have so far been installed in 18 states in Nigeria, reaching over 29,000 local smallholder farmers.

Fourth is the “Agripromoters” project. The scheme derives its name from the people driving its implementation - Agripomoters. These are OCP Africa partners who deploy their expertise in modern agriculture in the seminars and practical training sessions they teach to “Farmer Houses.” “To reach small-holder rural farmers in their communities, each Agripromoter is equipped with a tricycle and a tablet,” said the OCP statement, noting that this initiative has reached approximately 7,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria. While developing high-quality and soil-adapted fertilizers is OCP Africa’s primary activity, the company’s commitment goes far beyond enhanced agricultural productivity. OCP’s professed determination to contribute to the realization of a green revolution in Africa has caught the eye of many global observers in recent years. In 2019, the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) granted OCP its Gold Medal for a second time in a row. IFA’s award recognized OCP Group as a global leader in sustainable development by highlighting the company’s efforts to support sustainable and innovative agriculture.

CSIRO develops sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane

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ustralian Research Organisation CSIRO has developed a sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane that can help farmers produce more, while using less water, nutrients and agrochemicals. The new technology, named TranspiratiONal, is an environmentally-friendly alternative for agricultural plastics, such as polyethylene, often called plastic mulch. According to CSIRO there is a worldwide challenge to grow more food, using less resources. “The world’s population is growing, requiring food production to double by 2050 to feed an expected nine billion people. The need to expand our food production output is also impacting the environment through the use of fertilisers and other chemicals”, said CSIRO. Test run The product underwent trials which confirmed increases in crop water productivity in excess of 30%, while also assisting to control weeds. Researcher Dr Keith L. Bristow who came up with the idea of a polymer membrane suggest that that all farmers should be able to apply the membrane, even those in Africa using a simple hand sprayer.

“We used big and small farm equipment and proved that our polymer membrane can be accessible to small scale farmers in developing countries and large scale highly mechanised farmers and agribusinesses in developed countries”, said Dr Bristow. Increased productivity CSIRO demonstrated the sprayable technology in irrigated field plot trials in Australia using melons, tomatoes, sorghum and cotton. The trials confirmed increases in crop water productivity in excess of 30 per cent, while also assisting to control weeds. “We‘ve got our proof of concept but we need to further finetune the polymer spray”, Dr Bristow says. “We want to make it as durable and cost effective as possible. At the moment the cost is probably higher than the plastic mulch film that is widely used.” The farmers in the trials were in general happy with the ability of the polymer membrane to cover the soil. Weeds were controlled and water was saved, resulting in more production. “Our aim is to maximise the transpiration and minimise the soil evaporation”, Dr Bristow emphasises.

Advantages of the polymer membrane The field trials have showed a number of advantages of the polymer membrane of CSIRO over the plastic mulch films that farmers are currently using. The polymer membrane is biodegradable, and most plastic mulch films are not. This new product is sprayable. Farmers can use existing farming equipment for the application – with minor, low cost modification. The application of plastic mulch films is expensive as it requires specialist farming equipment. Plastic mulch films can cause extreme surface temperatures. The application of the polymer membrane however moderates the soil surface temperatures. The trials showed that plastic mulch films caused seedling damage and death of plants. The use of the polymer membrane caused minimal to no damage to seedlings. “CSIRO explains that achieving the initial target of using 10% less water with no yield loss in Australian irrigated agriculture would free up more than 1,000 gigalitres of water. “This could be used for growing additional crops and/or improving environmental flows in our waterways”, said CSIRO.

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NEWS

Isenberg’s Priyank Arora, Hello Tractor partner to help smallholder farmers in Africa

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senberg’s Priyank Arora Isenberg’s Priyank Arora, and his collaborator at Duke University, Can Zhang have collaborated with Hello Tractor to help smallholder farmers in Africa. Hello Tractor is an award-winning technology services platform that connects smallholder farmers with tractor owners to help farmers reap benefits of mechanization by eliminating the need for them to own an expensive equipment. Its business model can be best-described as the “Uber for tractors.” In a short span of six years, the company has mechanized over 500, 000 hectares of land across 13 countries in Africa and Asia. While it has unlocked huge financial benefits for farmers and tractor operators, there are some obstacles that remain to be conquered. Currently, in the absence of a comprehensive and datadriven optimization model, tractor operators crisscross broad geographies, missing out on revenue opportunities and wasting valuable time and fuel. Route optimization tool However the partnership put together their expertise in optimization and operations

to recommend the optimal route that should be followed annually. “Unlike ride-sharing companies that have an easier handle over the number of the affiliated cars on the road in the desired location, farm equipment sharing platforms in emerging economies have to deal with a sparse and spatially-distributed supply of tractors. Our innovative route optimization tool integrates multiple data sources to build a predictive model that helps tractor owners manage their fleet profitably, which in turn, benefits smallholder farmers,” said Arora. management techniques and developed a route optimization tool to suggest what route the tractor should follow to maximize profit and socioeconomic outcomes. The mathematical model uses information on demand patterns, Hello Tractor GPS monitoring device data, supply locations and attributes, weather forecast, and regional characteristics,

Adebola Olufunke, chief data scientist, at Hello Tractor estimate that this will not only reduce tractor owners’ operating costs by 25%, but also increase their revenues by up to 300%. This is in large part driven by increase in the area served by each tractor as well as the number of farmers served. The deployment of this tool has already begun in parts of Nigeria and Kenya, with plans to scale up the deployment across other nations in Africa and Asia.

Niger to inject 15% of budget into Agriculture

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he government of Niger has injected 15% of the annual state budget over the next five years in the Agriculture sector. The country’s President, Mohamed Bazoum made the announcement and said the move aims to boost the sector. The announcement was made during the virtual summit “Feeding Africa: Leadership to Scale Up Successful Innovations.” whose objective is to identify ways to scale up activities, increase funding and strengthen partnerships to better harness technology to transform agriculture in Africa. The meeting was attended by several heads of state, including President Felix Tshisekedi, current chairman of the African Union, and the presidents of financial institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote were also present. Niger’s agriculture sector Niger’s agriculture sector employs nearly 85% of the population and accounts for nearly half of its

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gross domestic product. However, over the past two decades, due to frequent droughts and floods that decimate crops and livestock, much of the Nigerien population struggles to maintain a living through subsistence farming. The country has been ranked near or at the bottom of worldwide indexes of the Human development index, GDP, and per capita income. Economic activity centres on subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, re-export trade, and export of uranium. The 50% devaluation of the West African CFA franc in January, 1994 boosted exports of livestock, cowpeas, onions, and the products of Niger’s small cotton industry. Exports of cattle to neighboring Nigeria, as well as Groundnuts and their oil remain the primary non-mineral exports. “Niger needs to undertake agricultural production to replace imports of 800,000 tons of cereals which amount to 302 million Account Units. I am also urging my peers to take coordinated action at the continental level to build sustainable and resilient food systems to eliminate hunger and malnutrition,” said President Bazoum.


NEWS

Netherlands to spend US $37M on agribusiness project in East Africa

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he Netherlands Development Organisation SNV has announced plans to spend US $30million for the implementation of a climate change resilient agribusiness project in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Geoffrey Isote, Monitoring officer for the project in Central zone confirmed the report and said that the the project, which started in July 2018, up to May 2023 was being implemented in Southern Highlands Zone comprising Iringa, Katavi, Mbeya and Songwe regions and in the Central Zone which consists of Dodoma and Singida regions. Around 100,000 farmers will are projected to be reached during the five-year implementation period. “Our main target is to improve the value chain in millet, Irish potatoes, sunflowers and beans. We are actually targeting the peasant, especially the

low income, to move from subsistence farming to productive agriculture by increasing his/her income using a small area to harvest more crops of high quality,” said Isote. Demand crop Project Manager for Musoma Food Co Ltd, Mr Samson Msigwa, who is implementing the Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (CRAFT) project on millet in Mkalama and Manyoni districts in Singida region, said his company decided to chip in after realizing that the demand for the crop was greater than the supply from the farmers. “Agriculture is essential to the economies of East African countries. Climate change, with its effects on temperature and precipitation, threatens this important economic activity,” said Mr Samson Msigwa.

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OPINION

Agricultural growth and development

keep on growing Open Pollinated Varieties (OPVs) for example red cork and eight lines when we have many seed companies in Zimbabwe that are producing improved varieties that are high yielding and suits different ecological zones. Extension services the task is laid ahead of you to educate our esteemed farmers until the majority adopt the pfumbudza concept so that we paint the nation green with improved seeds and enjoy productivity.

By: Hwande Sheunesu ,Gokwe Nembudziya, Zimbabwe

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he implementation of Climate smart agriculture, Pfumbudza Intwasa farming, command agriculture that is for both field crops and livestock has seen a mega boost in national food security .However a lot is to be done to bring economic growth and development as well as to improve the standard of living. There is need for a revisitation to the recent input allocation strategy where a farmer could sign an affidavit and acquire inputs using someone’s offer letter , for example the owner of the offer letter would have inputs allocated to his/her 6hacter land while two or more farmers are also issued inputs equal to the land owner , meaning to say the other twelve hectares are just in the air so at the end of the day inputs for 18 hectares will be allocated to a 6hacter plot that means the chances of 12hacter inputs being sold are very high. Most farmers with the greatest potential to produce who are scattered around Zimbabwe’s remote areas lacked access to inputs while gamblers were fully equipped and they sold the inputs at very low prices in the streets. I suggest there should be a solid follow up program so that those who under utilised the inputs will pay the promised collaterals. One’s failure in 2020-2021 Agricultural season cannot be subjected to drought but to other factors like fraud and poor management. Before one is allocated inputs it is very good to at list produce a record from three-two previous seasons of submitting his/her crops at GMB.

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A view around many parts of the country Matabeleland provinces has proved that many communal farmers still value livestock only as their sources of draft power and meat, recently the country had a huge blow of the tick born disease THELEIRIOSIS popularly known as January disease and it left many kraals closed.

The extension workers must know their farmers l have witnessed people who get inputs and sell to make quick money then later raise money and buy grain from less privileged farmers who cannot afford transport to Grain Marketing Board . A command contracted farmer sold the inputs to buy photocopy and printing equipment then later opened a shop at a nearby growth point which he run until he managed to save a little amount that managed to buy him three tonnes of maize so that he could cancel his credit with GMB. Few farmers in communal areas are so naive such that they look at farming business with a pinch of salt, and therefore tend to cling on to traditional ways of farming where one could

The diseases is not contagious and can be easily prevented by frequent dipping according to prevalence of ticks. I discovered that most farmers rarely dose small stocks like goats and sheep they instead treat them in the event that they are found sick. DEPARTMENT OF LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION DEVELOPMENT Officers (DLPDOs), VERTERINATY SERVICES and SPECIAL PROTECTION FOR CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (SPCA) should work tirelessly and educate farmers on handling, treating breeding of livestock so that we can restock to produce the best meat quality, eggs, beef products, milk products, wool and hides that attracts the global village and move with speed towards Zimbabwe’s vision 2030.


OPINION

A successful land reform programme cannot be achieved without partnerships, access to affordable finance and buy-in from all stakeholders

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here is a growing body of evidence that shows that strategic partnerships and alternative funding models are necessary for a successful land reform programme that will stimulate the rural economy and extricate millions of people from the clutches of poverty. “The success of land reform depends on sustainable partnerships and the implementation of alternative and inclusive funding models, especially given the pressure that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on the fiscus,” comments Peter Setou, Chief Executive of the Vumelana Advisory Fund (Vumelana), a non-profit organisation that helps beneficiaries of the land reform programme to make their land profitable. Setou notes that since 1994, South Africa has been saddled with implementing a land reform programme. There has been growing criticism of the painfully slow pace of the land reform programme and concerns that the initiative is being usurped by political elites at the expense of poor rural communities. This has been compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Setou argues that, “There is a need for the government to explore alternative funding models and partnerships as part of the broader solutions to addressing current land reform challenges. There is a strong case for partnerships in land reform; we have seen this work and have observed some of the challenges, drawn lessons from these, and continue to improve the model to ensure that it yields sustainable results.” Through its Communal Private Partnership (CPP) model, to date Vumelana has facilitated 20 partnerships between land reform beneficiary communities and private investors. These transactions have a potential to put approximately 70 000 hectares of land to productive use, benefitting just over 20 000 beneficiary households.

“Some of these successes include the Moletele CPA in Limpopo, where communities working together with private investors have been able to create employment for communities through land acquired through the land reform programme. Other success stories include the Ebenhaeser CPA partnership with the Stellar Group. This is one of the large land claims to be settled in South Africa, which is approximately ±18,283 hectares of land near Vredendal in the Western Cape. The partnership has opened export opportunities for the local community, created employment for community members and a source of income for beneficiary households.” Through its partnership with the Stellar Group, the Ebenhaeser CPA has secured a deal to export pumpkins to the Netherlands market. The partnership has also enabled the community to produce cash crops, which include tomatoes and beans, for the local market. Basal Nefdt, project mentor in business development for the Ebenhaeser CPA, explains that, “The community includes just over 600 young people, 250 of whom are unemployed. In efforts to address the high unemployment rate among youth in the area, the Ebenhaeser CPA has also registered two youth cooperatives that aim to create employment through the cooperatives, with opportunities currently varying from agriculture to brickmaking projects run by the youth. An estimated 10 hectares of land have been allocated for various projects to support some of these youth initiatives and other agricultural projects.” The Stellar Group and the Ebenhaeser CPA are classic examples of what the country can achieve with the land reform programme if such tried and tested models are implemented at scale. “Properly structured partnerships between private sector players and land-owning communities can not only ensure productive use of restored

land, but also address critical challenges facing communities, such as skills, youth unemployment and poverty,” says Setou. “Tourism and agriculture are capital-intensive businesses. Beneficiary communities that receive land suitable for tourism or agriculture need to be provided with post settlement support and must have access to affordable finance in order to get projects off the ground. Setou further highlights that of the 3 legs of land reform, land tenure remains the least developed. Challenges related to this must be urgently dealt with to ensure that the plight of farm workers and people living in land administered by traditional authorities is addressed. He adds that all stakeholders in the land reform programme should have a vested interest in the success of the programme. “Our experience in working with CPAs has demonstrated that if beneficiary communities do not have the skills and the knowledge to farm or use the land, they will fail. It is not the sole responsibility of the government to ensure that skills are transferred to beneficiaries of land reform, it is also the responsibility of those who have been farming that land to support and make sure that communities succeed, because if communities fail, we all fail. A successful land reform programme can be a catalyst to the development of an agriculture led manufacturing sector that can absorb millions of unskilled and low-skilled black South Africans. This will not only foster food security, but it will also help to create much-needed jobs, reduce poverty levels and revive the rural economies,” says Setou.

May - June 2021| 9


OPINION

What SA agriculture needs from international trade

By: Antonie Delport: Syngenta South Africa

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griculture is a pivotal industry. It is not only crucial in providing food security worldwide, but it’s also the main source of jobs and livelihoods on our continent. Yet, despite its potential to feed the growing global population, Africa remains home to more than half of all the people in the world who face food insecurity. How, then, do we unlock the potential of our continent to produce the quantity and quality of food it is capable of? I believe that international trade is a critical part of the answer. The capacity of international trade participation to fuel economic growth is well established. However, in our experience at Syngenta as a multinational company, markets need appropriate and robust regulation to flourish and deliver equal benefits to all participants. Trade between South Africa and the European Union (EU) is a good example. Despite the EU being South Africa’s largest trade partner worldwide, and South Africa the EU’s biggest

10 | May - June 2021

trade partner in Africa, the parties do not always negotiate with mutual understanding. The fall armyworm is a case in point. This insect pest lays waste to crops in Africa, but is not a threat to European farmers. Yet, EU trade regulations prohibit the use of crop protection chemicals that are effective against the pest on export crops. In order to maximise the potential inherent in a free trade agreement, such as the one that exists between Europe and Africa, standards have to be accepted by all parties and tariff and non-tariff barriers have to minimised. Global reference standards prepared by scientists, experts and governments are necessary and welcome. Unfortunately, standards are too often based on consumer preferences rather than science. Farmers (Producers) further need the cost of doing business across borders to come down. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest export and

second highest import costs in the world, and the myriad registration and licencing systems across the continent severely limit the profitability of intracontinental trade. Against this backdrop, the game-changing potential of the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) cannot be overstated. With signatories committed to removing tariffs on 90% of all goods, progressively liberalising trade in services and addressing non-tariff barriers the world’s largest free trade area can transform international trade, boost food security and bring economic emancipation to millions of farmers. Food markets and trade practices that support equal and sustainable access to safe, high-quality food for everyone are necessary and possible. The means to achieve it largely exist already; what is required are political will and action at all levels of society.


OPINION

Accommodative SARB and growth rebound positive for the pumping agriculture sector Comment by Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business

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he South African Reserve Bank (SARB) again maintained a steady stance on interest rates which saw the repo rate still at a record low of 3.5%. Although the rate outlook has tilted to the upside with the SARB’s Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) pointing to two 25 basis points hikes in each of the second and fourth quarters of 2021, its stance shows an inclination to remain accommodative for a bit longer. The lower rates are positive for the agriculture sector which has been pumping well on the back of favourable conditions and increased its credit demand. Robust commodity prices have also helped improve the farmers’ cashflows although there are pockets of Covid-19 induced challenges such as the wine value chain. This will afford the farmers an opportunity to do the necessary refurbishments and replacement of machinery and equipment as evident in the

recent April figures which showed tractor and combined harvester up by almost 23% and 115% respectively year-on-year (y/y) and 27% and 29% higher for the year-to-date (JAN-APR) relative to the 2020 levels. Another strong agriculture output will limit further upside in food inflation which has recently increased due to the spill over spike in international agriculture commodity prices. We have already seen signs of international maize prices cooling off in recent trades as the production outlook turned positive. The expected 2021/22 world maize production is now projected at a record high of 1.19 billion tons with stocks rebounding to 292 million tons, which is up 5.4% and 3.1% respectively y/y. This development is positive for overall consumer food inflation for the year ahead. We expect the agriculture sector to post another stellar performance during 2021.

Don’t let blight catch you off-guard!

I

t is a well-known fact that the best way to control diseases, particularly those on potatoes, is to prevent them. With this in mind, the emphasis that is placed on the preventive use of crop protection products makes sense. It is not just idle talk either: laboratory tests have proven that some SDHI products that were applied only two days after a potato had been infected with early blight, provided less than 50% control. Bear in mind that at that stage, the potato plant had not shown any lesions yet. Preventive application is therefore of utmost importance to achieve effective control. The flipside of the disease-control coin is the cost grip in which potato farmers are often caught. Rising input costs while the potato price remains largely unchanged, makes it imperative to avoid unnecessary applications of fertiliser, pesticides and other inputs if a producer hopes to achieve the maximum return on a crop investment. How then can potato farmers strike the optimal balance between preventative versus unnecessary control? The solution lies in the new service that Syngenta recently established to give producers advance warning of conditions

that are favourable for the development of early or late blight on potatoes. The service combines weather predictions and disease models in order to issue warnings for areas around one or more specific weather stations. Producers register on the Syngenta website for specified months and receive notifications on Mondays and Thursdays of the disease risk predicted for the next five days. When no risk is expected, no notification is issued.

The producer can choose to receive warnings via WhatsApp or email, and to have access to other information from the relevant weather station, such as conditions that can influence the application of chemical products. For any enquiries, contact your Syngenta representative of sales manager, or send an email to andre.labuschagne@ syngenta.com

May - June 2021| 11


ADVERTORIAL

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

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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

combination

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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.


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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.

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REPORT

Gender-responsive research key to farm productivity, tackling Africa’s agricultural threats, report

2009 AWARD Fellow, Florence Olubayo from the University of Nairobi Kenya

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frican Women in Agricultural Research and Development, AWARD, has released a report highlighting how gender-responsive agricultural research and development coupled with intentional focus on addressing inequalities in access to innovations between men and women, can propel agricultural-driven development. Dubbed Agspirations: Inspiring stories of African agriculture, volume 1, the report forms part of a growing body of knowledge that has demonstrated the gains of embracing gender-responsive research and increasing the number of female agricultural scientists in leadership positions.

Jane Nabawanuka, Research Officer Kwanda Agricultural Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda

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“The world needs urgent and concerted efforts toward enabling agricultural-dependent communities to thrive in the face of a changing climate. The key to finding solutions is an enhanced focus on the systemic causes of the gender divide in various sectors, including science, technology,


groundbreaking work ranging from promoting the adoption of climate-smart technologies to improving African seed systems in the context of climate change. “Through the One Planet Fellowship, we fostered a robust global network of capable and influential researchers and research leaders able to deploy a gender lens to analyze their research’s potential to bridge the gender gap in African agriculture and help smallholders adapt to a changing climate. While this is a harsh reminder of the reality of the imbalance between demand and supply of capacity development on the continent, it is also an opportunity for increased partnerships to build local talent to address climate change in Africa,” noted outgoing AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg. 2014 AWARD Fellow Binta Iliyasu from Nigeria

engineering and mathematics (STEM),” states the AgSpirations report.

including as vice-chancellors, centre directors and policymakers.

The report further notes that smallholder farmers across Africa are looking to science to boost farm productivity and to tackle emerging threats, partiuclarly with regards to climate change and pandemics as demonstrated by COVID-19. Gender and diversity in agricultural research are crucial to create and implement effective solutions to these critical issues and contribute to broader development goals.

Cognizant of the need to invest in both male and female researchers to build resilient agricultural systems, AWARD is also implementing the One Planet Fellowship. This US$19.2 million initiative, co-managed with the Agropolis Fondation, is building a robust pipeline of scientists working on solutions to help Africa’s smallholder farmers adapt to a changing climate and forging intercontinental collaborations with European scientists for climate change research.

Less than a quarter of agricultural researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa are women and only 14 per cent of those in leadership positions in agricultural research are women, according to 2017 research commissioned by AWARD. Furthermore, women account for less than 16 percent of the research labour force in agricultural sciences in francophone African countries. To inspire more women into research, and invest in African women scientists working to improve the livelihoods of rural populations, AWARD has partnered with academic institutions, development agencies and governments to implement various initiatives and programmes. The flagship AWARD Fellowship has, for the last 13 years, been working with women agricultural research scientists who undertake a career-development programme that builds their leadership, mentoring, and scientific research skills. To date, the Fellowship has been offered to 534 of the continent’s top women scientists, referred to as AWARD Fellows, and has benefitted more than 1,000 individuals who participated in the programme as mentors and Fellows’ mentees. The AWARD Fellows continue to record remarkable growth in their careers, with most taking up senior leadership positions,

The 2019 and 2020 cohorts of One Planet Fellowship participants include 89 laureate candidates and 89 mentors, selected from 2,426 applicants across 14 sub-Saharan African countries. The researchers have carried out

AWARD has also partnered with eight national agricultural research institutions in six African countries, including the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Nigeria’s the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), and Tanzania’s Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology to customize and deploy interventions that promote gender responsiveness. These include institutional fellowship and mentoring programmes and offering support to partner institutions to develop their gender strategies and leadership programmes. “Gender balance is not only an issue of equity and equality, but also of efficiency. Indeed, integrating gender is key to greater effectiveness. Women all over the world are, whether recognized or not, critical players in decision-making processes,” emphasized Dr Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem, Director of Agropolis Fondation, a key AWARD partner.

2009 AWARD Fellow, Mary Oyunga, on a farm visit

May - June 2021| 15


PRODUCT

Stainless steel milk cans

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ood quality milk is essential for production of good quality dairy products, taste and flavor, free from pathogens and long keeping quality. Good quality dairy products cannot and can never be made from poor quality raw milk. Good quality raw milk must be: Free from debris and sediment, Free from off-flavors, Low in bacterial numbers, Normal composition, and acidity, Free of antibiotics and chemical residues. In order for milk to reach the processor and ultimately the consumer still in good condition, a number of things must be observed right from the farm level to the processing factory, and thereafter to the retailers and consumer.

free from pathogens and long keeping quality. Good quality dairy products cannot and can never be made from poor quality raw milk. Good quality raw milk must be: Free from debris and sediment, Free from off-flavors, Low in bacterial numbers, Normal composition, and acidity, Free of antibiotics and chemical residues. For milk to reach the processor and ultimately the consumer

still in good condition, a number of things must be observed right from the farm level to the processing factory, and thereafter to the retailers and consumer.

Milk transport vessels (cans) All milk transport vessels should be cleaned in the same way as outlined for milk cans above. There should be provision for water at milk cooling centers to enable ALL milk suppliers’ vessels or cans to be rinsed with cold water. With these we will be able to meet the required standards of good quality milk.80% of the processors do quantity-based payment system. If farmers put all these into consideration, we can change the routine from quantity based to quality-based payment.

Serap - experts in milk cooling solutions For over 50 years, SERAP has designed and developed some of the market’s most efficient milk cooling solutions. The company has led the development of milk collection from cooling in cans to major installations in France and throughout the world. SERAP has one goal: to give the world’s dairy producers the benefit of its expertise and provide solutions that match their requirements in the best way possible. Scalable solutions that perfectly meet the local climate conditions and different production and collection systems. • Milk cooling in cans for emerging countries • Collective cooling systems for dairy areas under development • Direct expansion milk coolers for 24hr, 48hr or 72hr collection • Installation of instant cooling for large farms

Milk Handling Techniques and Milk Quality Good quality milk is essential for production of good quality dairy products, taste and flavor,

In all these situations, SERAP offers solutions based on refrigeration, energy and economic performance as well as guarantee outstanding reliability.

16 | May - June 2021


MILK CAN COOLER

Photos : © Groupe SERAP/SHUTTERSTOCK

THE MOST EFFICIENT SYSTEM TO PRESERVE MILK IN CANS

Capacity 8 cans – Up to 320L of milk Powered by Grid or Solar Energy Plug and Play, robust and efficient Cooling Unit Cools milk in cans to less than 10°C in 1,5 hour Designed for small herds and farms Easy to clean with bottom outlet valve

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PRODUCT

1000 mark for Case IH Maxxum® tractors

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he popularity of Case IH Maxxum® tractors has continued to climb in Africa as the brand announces that more than 1000 units have been sold on the continent since 2016. With models ranging from 112 to 141 horsepower, the Maxxum is a multi-purpose tractor that fits in well with many of the farming operations required in Africa. Marcin Ruppert, Case IH Marketing Manager for Africa and Middle East, said the Maxxum’s popularity continues to grow year-on-year, especially as a great land preparation tractor due to its reliability and robustness. “Since 2016 we’ve sold over 1000 Maxxum tractors in Africa, and each year the number gets higher,” he said. “In 2020, even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, we saw our highest sales of Maxxum tractors on record—and that’s testament to the suitability of Maxxum tractors for African conditions. “The Case IH brand is well-known and trusted, and Maxxum tractors offer the expected level of reliability and productivity built in a simple, affordable package that provides the power, fuel economy and features that African farmers want, without fuss or over-engineered technology,” he said. Designed for maximum operator comfort and productivity, the Maxxum’s SurroundVision cab provides panoramic views and ergonomically

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placed controls. The large, comfortable and quiet, best-in-class cab offers plenty of legroom, air conditioning, dual wide-opening doors and a host of user-friendly features, including an easy to understand instrument panel on the dash displaying critical information at-a-glance and an optional seat-mounted, factory-installed joystick for ergonomic loader operation. A foldable ROPS option is also available on Maxxum 110 and 125 models, for working in cramped spaces or under lower ceilings, or for better-suiting operators who are more frequently getting in and out of their tractor. Regardless of the configuration chosen, the controls are logically arranged to ensure operators can become immediately familiar with the control layout. Maxxum tractors have several transmission options available to meet the specific demands of any operation, whether that’s simplicity, maximum field working gears, transport fuel economy or versatility. Choose from the standard 12x12 mechanical, 24x24 Hi/Lo power shuttle or 16x16 semipowershift transmission options on Maxxum Value models. On the Maxxum 140 Limited model the 16x16 is standard and 17x16 semipowershift Econo transmission with Autoshift is an option. On all other Limited cab models the 24x24 Hi/Lo transmission is standard. Maxxum tractors feature a 540/1000 speed PTO driven directly from the engine flywheel for maximum efficiency. A soft-start PTO feature with automatic feathering for smooth engagement is standard on all models. Fast raise/lower

hitch switches located on both rear fenders are standard on Maxxum Limited models. The optional Auto PTO Management System turns the PTO on or off based on a chosen position of the 3-point hitch, giving operators one less thing to worry about. Several three-point hitch capacity options allow for handling heavy implements. All Maxxum models feature lower link draft sensing to keep the load stable on the hitch, adjustable turnbuckles, telescoping stabilizers to control sway and flexible link ends for quicker connections and easier implement changes. “The Maxxum really is a workhorse. Proven in fields across Africa, both in our testing and on customers’ farms, people can trust that this tractor will deliver what it promises,” Mr Ruppert said. “Plus, it’s backed by the Case IH dealer network. All our dealers understand the needs of farmers in their areas, plus they’ve got the knowledge and training, as well as access to the genuine spare parts needed to keep these tractors working when they’re needed most. “We’re in constant contact with our global engineering teams and are proud of our ability to make product improvements that enhance our customers’ productivity.” For more information about Case IH products, visit www.caseih.com or talk to your local authorized Case IH dealer.


Mycotoxin Detection Rapid & Reliable Results The Randox Food Diagnostics Myco 9, 7 and 5 arrays have been developed with Biochip Array Technology to provide a comprehensive solution that simultaneously and quantitatively detects the world’s most prevalent toxins from a single sample of feed or cereal. Randox Food Diagnostics also offer one of the only ELISAs on the market for Ergot Alkaloid screening within flour and grass seed. Mycotoxins Detected • Aflatoxin B1/B2

• Deoxynivalenol

• Ergot Alkaloids

• Ochratoxin A

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• Aflatoxin G1/G2

• Diacetoxyscirpenol

• Fumonisins

• Paxilline

• Zearalenone

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PRODUCT

Perlite is the new way to grow

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rolite® from Pratley is a unique, naturally occurring, perlite-based mineral that has become very popular as a horticultural growing medium. The main benefits include increased fertiliser efficiency to boost overall plant health and growth. In addition, it promotes water drainage while still retaining an ideal moisture content level in the root zone.

Pratley actively produces and processes a mineral called Perlite in South Africa that is actually a volcanic glass. The perlite raw material is then processed in special proprietary furnaces to produce products, including Grolite®, that enhance agricultural practices and increase crop yields. Tiny micropores on the surface of the expanded Perlite particles assist to capture nutrients and water molecules. The capillary action occurring in the voids between the particles ensures uniform distribution of water and nutrients, resulting in consistent crops. Grolite® also maintains optimal soil aeration.

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This is a critical factor in normal plant growth as the supply of oxygen to roots in adequate quantities is essential for healthy plants. Grolite® is processed at temperatures in excess of 950°C, resulting in a sterile product that is completely free of weeds and pathogenic microbes. Unlike ordinary horticultural Perlites, the strong surface structure of Grolite® means it does not deteriorate during transportation or when mixed. This unique feature means hydroponic farmers, for example, can reuse the product for more than one season, increasing its cost-effectiveness. “This makes Grolite® a highly cost-efficient method to increase yields for self-sustainable farming practices,” comments Pratley Marketing Director Eldon Kruger. Grolite® is available nationwide in various grade sizes to cater for specific blends.

Pratley Marketing Director Eldon Kruger


PRODUCT

BMG focuses on the importance of the investment in advanced agricultural technologies to optimise productivity and ensure greater profitability for farmers During the harvesting season, it is essential that round balers operate efficiently to ensure maximum yield for the farmer. Shock loads during baling weaken an inferior chain, which can lead to unacceptable stoppages for farmers who are working to tight deadlines. The pressing process also exposes chain to extreme forces - forces which conventional chain cannot withstand for an entire season. Farmers have been unhappy with the loss of productivity during the downtime of their balers and they resent chain replacement costs.

Motoline solar inverter for PV water pumps

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MG’s agricultural specialists work closely with farmers, to ensure they benefit from constantly changing trends in agricultural machinery. “Through BMG’s Boer Slim/ Smart Farming initiative, which was launched approximately eight years ago, the company offers farming sustainability solutions that focus on effective food production, the correct use of suitable equipment for the specific task and the efficient application of advanced technologies,” explains Carlo Beukes, agricultural manager, BMG. “This programme is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers are under enormous pressure to produce adequate supplies of fresh foods for our vulnerable population. “We are heartened to see a growing trend throughout Southern Africa, in the transformation of conventional farms into commercial units, run as profitable businesses. There is now greater

acceptance by local farmers, that advanced equipment is necessary to optimise productivity and minimise downtime and that this investment translates into tangible operational efficiencies. Farmers acknowledge that there is value in high quality equipment and replacement parts, rather than the use of outdated, ‘cheap’ and inferior components. “BMG’s extensive range of engineering components, which conforms to all relevant quality assurance and specification certifications, is carefully selected for local farmers, to ensure optimum performance - even in tough operating conditions.” A recent success in agricultural engineering for one of BMG’s key suppliers - Tsubaki – was solving the chain breakage problems on harvesters, as a result of excessive shock-loads in the field.

Tsubaki’s solution was to develop a heavy-duty reinforced roller chain to meet the high-volume capacity of agricultural machinery in tough operating conditions, with no risk of breakage during operation. The robust Tsubaki RS100HT chain for balers has a 25% higher maximum tensile strength, improved anti-shock performance and greater fatigue strength, when compared to chain manufactured by other companies. . Almost 70% of global OEM baler manufacturers now choose the Tsubaki heavy-duty chain series as standard for installation in the main drive system. Feedback from farmers indicates that they are satisfied with higher productivity, reduced maintenance requirements and reliability throughout the season, with no loss of production from downtime. A further benefit is that heavyduty Tsubaki chain can also prepare perfect bales, as these chains are suited to the high pretension settings required to allow easy storage and shaping of hay. BMG’s new reinforced Fenner Triflex couplings are also new to the range. These robust couplings, with forged steel flanges, provide an integrated solution for the safe and efficient transfer of torque in many applications, including agricultural pumps systems. These durable couplings are designed to compensate for axial, radial and angular misalignment, even in arduous conditions. The high-quality elastomer elements, with reinforced

May - June 2021| 23


PRODUCT

BMG’s new Fenner Triflex couplings robust couplings, with forged steel flanges, provide an integrated solution for the safe and efficient transfer of torque in many applications, including agricultural pumps systems. BMG’s Motoline solar inverters for water pumps offer dependable use in agricultural irrigation and water feed systems, for rural domestic and municipal water supply, as well as for ponds and dams.

cord inlays, provide effective dampening for torque peaks and shock loads, also absorbing start-up impacts. Rubber components, which provide additional support and protection, also reduce noise levels during operation. Typical agricultural applications for this range include pump systems, hydraulic drives and conveyor drivelines. This new coupling system – with a high-power density ratio – also ensures safe and efficient performance in special machinery like wood cutting machines and shredder applications. The versatile design of this series enables compatibility with all sizes – both regular and custom dimensions - of shaft/ hub connection requirements. Flange hubs can be machined to exact keyway/slot or multi-spline connection specifications.

According to BMG specialists, a notable feature of this series is the three-edged design of the forged steel flanges, that enables connection of shaft diameters up to 127 mm. Flanges are protected against corrosion by an electroplated coating which ensures superior storing characteristics and protects steel components against aggressive media and environmental impacts. This protective coating is particularly useful in corn harvesting machines, inside biogas fermenters. Flanges and couplings are joined by a simple screw connection, using high grade 10.9 bolts and robust washers with a 300 HV hardness. The screw connection is easy to install, as the bolts are connected directly into the flange material. This system allows easy replacement of

couplings, without the need to disassemble metal parts. All that’s required is loosening of the bolts and replacing the flexible disc element in a radial direction. BMG’s electronic, fluid technology, tools and power transmission components have been carefully selected to operate together, to form an efficient system that enhances productivity and energy efficiency. An important focus for BMG in agricultural technological advancements, is on the selection, installation and operation of the latest electromechanical systems – including Motoline solar inverters and electronic variable speed drives (VSDs), which are designed to improve efficiencies, reduce energy consumption and minimise maintenance requirements. BMG’s Motoline solar inverters for water pumps offer dependable use in agricultural irrigation and water feed systems, for rural domestic and municipal water supply, as well as for ponds and dams. Other recently launched agricultural equipment includes slogging hammers and wheel sloggers, which are used to loosen and tighten bolts and nuts quickly and easily; BTC gearboxes, which have been specifically designed for packhouses. Dual direction multi-purpose gearboxes, PTO clutches and components and specially designed heavy-duty coulter bearings are also new to the range.

BMG’s Tsubaki RS100HT chain for balers has a 25% higher maximum tensile strength, improved anti-shock performance and greater fatigue strength, when compared to other chain.

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Immediate availability of a comprehensive range of quality branded products, technical support and a total solutions service, sets the company apart in the agricultural community. BMG provides solutions to all key players, including local manufacturers of equipment and implements, as well as agricultural re-sellers and the farmer.


Under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation

The 33rd Edition of the International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East

12-15 September 2021 Egypt International Exhibition Center

To stay informed about exhibition updates visit our website

www.saharaexpo.com

In Partnership With

Strategic Partner

Sponsor

Sponsor


FEATURE

Understanding genetics in poultry farming

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griculture, in particular the animal protein industry, faces many questions when it comes to societal concerns. How are we creating the right environment for the animals in our care? What are we doing to minimize the amount of waste in the system? These are all valid concerns and areas where we need to be as transparent as possible in our efforts to create a sustainable food system. How can high quality genetics make the difference, now and in the future? A commitment to sustainability is a common goal for businesses across all industries. It is a term that many people associate with being environmentally friendly. In our organization, sustainability has many dimensions, including social sustainability. In terms of genetics, sustainable genetic progress can be easily connected to balanced breeding. This commitment to balanced breeding means that we focus on the full range of performance traits rather than one or two. Steady, balanced improvement allows animal performance to progress at a gradual and more sustainable rate. But we also know that sustainable breeding means more than just animal performance. In our role at the beginning of the value chain, we consider economic, social, and environmental sustainability in everything that we do. We will first introduce you to the concept of social sustainability in genetics. Social sustainability must address the challenges we face in creating a more socially responsible industry – now and in the future. Understanding social issues Unlike many other industries, food production comes with its own range of societal and ethical questions. The use of animals for food can draw a variety of opinions. While we believe that animal protein has an important place in the human diet, economic pressures and the lack of experienced farm labor can add strain to raise animals in a way that reduces stress and discomfort. Animal mortality is another area of ethical concern as it represents an example of food waste. What can we do so that the animals in the food system are given a comfortable environment and are raised in the most effective way possible? The shrimp industry is one example where sustainable practices are needed across the global industry. First to market with a closed cycle breeding operation, producing clean, Specific Pathogen Resistant (SPR) shrimp, our shrimp

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breeding strategy sets us apart from the rest. Through improved animal genetics delivering shrimp with superior performance back into the commercial market, we can produce more with far less resources and food waste. A strategy that will strengthen the shrimp industry by producing healthy, disease-resistant, high-quality animals right from the start. By fully understanding the root causes of these ethical concerns, we can contribute to a more transparent, responsible food system with high quality animal genetics. How do we take action? A socially sustainable pathway for the entire animal protein industry is not as far away as it seems. Ethical concerns are already being implemented as part of our focus on sustainable animal breeding. All animal behavior serves an evolutionary purpose. Over millions of years, animals developed certain protective behavior in order to survive. In a farm setting, behavior such as pecking can cause damage and make management more difficult. As a breeding company, our role  is to understand animal interaction in order to make selections that will result in a more docile and resilient group of animals. Hendrix Genetics is one of 20 partners working together as part of The ChickenStress European Training Network (ETN). This project trains future leaders in a range of scientific studies involving poultry stress responsivity in various environments, including the impact of their housing system and feed program on health and welfare. The  ChickenStress project  aims to find out how the stress response is regulated in the bird’s brain and how genetics and living environment of the laying hen can reduce chronic stress. Our breeding program for our swine dam lines require all purebred sows to be housed in groups. By doing this, we are able to choose sows that will perform well under these conditions with the right behavior and mothering ability. Our aim is to select good mothers that can farrow and wean as many pigs as the number of functional teats, eliminating the need to use nurse sows which can be very stressful for piglets and can add more strain for farm workers. As new, innovative farm systems become the norm, it is important to lead forward by examining how animals behave in more open environments

such as cage-free egg farming and sow group housing. We can then make selections so animals can thrive in the right system. Taking action in animal genetics What defines ethical, sustainable animal breeding? There is currently no standard, but for most consumers, they know it when they see it. The Sustainable Access to Poultry Parental Stock to Africa (SAPPSA) project backed by SASSO, our traditional poultry business was designed to provide better supply and genetic solutions for African poultry farmers. Through this project, Hendrix Genetics provides support to local farmers in feeding the growing population with nutritious protein. It is a prime example of how we are turning our vision into reality with the firm belief that we can only achieve a better, more sustainable future for all of us by working together. Hendrix Genetics has also made a commitment towards setting the standard towards sustainable animal breeding by joining an alliance to end surgical castrations of swine. Using precision breeding technology, we aim to develop male piglets naturally born castrated. This would offer many advantages for animal welfare for the entire industry. Moving towards the future of social sustainability Consumers have the power to steer an entire industry towards what they see as responsible food production. For us, as an industry player, we can calculate sentiment with social media, be transparent and educate others on best practices and industry standards. We want to engage in the conversation to understand and set new standards, making the animal protein industry more sustainable. To build a more sustainable future, understanding and addressing social concerns must be part of our focus as a breeding company at the start of the value chain. We believe that selecting healthy, easy to manage animals will translate to better welfare, less waste, and minimized labor for farm workers. Finding solutions and opportunities in our industry will help us ensure that sustainability standards meet societal acceptance, steering us all towards a brighter life tomorrow. Source : Hendrix Genetics https:// www.hendrix-genetics.com/en/news/ how-genetics-can-contribute-towardssocially-sustainable-industry/


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


FEATURE COVER-STORY

Mobile grain dryers Increased drying, quality harvest and a healthy population By reducing cereal losses through thorough processing, and improving health (reducing aflatoxins), it is not surprising that mobile grain dryers have become popular in Africa. 28 | May - June 2021


appeal that an additional NAD 28 million (USD 2 million) is needed to contain the pests.

We were expecting a plentiful harvest this year but the locust outbreak is threatening to undo our hard work,” says a visibly distressed Wilhem Asser. Asser is a communal farmer in Elim, a rural settlement nestled in Namibia’s north central region of Omusati. The area has had its share of the invasion of the devastating African Migratory Locusts (AML) which first hit southern Africa in mid-2020 and which has been overshadowed by the Desert Locust emergency in eastern Africa.

Margaret Matengu, Head of the Plant Health Unit in the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) in MAWLR said that the fight against the African Migratory Locust can be won with adequate resources and collaboration from both the private and public sector to avert a major crisis. Farayi Zimudzi, FAO Representative in Namibia, reiterated FAO’s continued commitment to support the efforts of the government to mount timely and effective control campaigns. She called on the donor community to invest in containing the locusts now to avoid the situation escalating into a humanitarian crisis.

“In all my 75 years of life I have never witnessed something as horrifying as this,” Asser says. About 300 subsistence farming households in his area have been affected by these locusts that feed on grass, maize, millet, sorghum, wheat and other green vegetation. In all the affected regions, more than 5000 farming households are expected to be heavily impacted by the scourge. All hands on deck to salvage livelihoods It is 3:30am on a chilly Thursday morning in Elim when a team of agricultural extension officers clad in white overalls and black safety gumboots arrive in a convoy of pick-up trucks. The officers hop from their vehicles and quickly join a delegation of senior officers from the government, the FAO Representative in Namibia and other officials from her office in a circle of bodies. Their sense of haste is evident; there is clearly no time to waste. They are the front line fighting the locust enemy: a swarm is covering a one-kilometre stretch of grassland that serves as a grazing area for villagers’ livestock. On their feet, the extension officers receive their early morning brief before embarking on their task. Villages under siege Elim is just one of the many villages joining a growing list of hundreds of locust-infested farming settlements in the north-central, north-eastern and southern parts of Namibia where thousands of local inhabitants are facing a serious threat to their livelihoods. Like Asser, many villagers’ crop fields are under threat from the locust swarms and families are worried about the prospects of attaining a good harvest this year. “Most farmers in this village feel helpless and powerless against the menacing locusts. They come in their thousands and quickly attempt to devour everything in their path that is green; we are very frightened by their viciousness,” says Absalom Nembenge,

“Only through collaborative effort can we overcome this serious threat to food security and the livelihoods of thousands of people,” she said. a communal farmer in Ekamba, located a few kilometres east of Elim. Meanwhile, the farmers are trying everything from burning tires to making noise to try to chase away the pests. “They [locusts] descended upon our crop field like a devastating cloud at around 4p.m. yesterday. I was highly alarmed and quickly called my wife and the children to join me in the field to ward them off. We spent an entire afternoon burning tires and banging metals, corrugated iron sheets and pots, to create noise that we hoped would scare the locusts off,” Absalom recounts. Fighting the good fight The Government locust spraying teams are comprised of agricultural officers and members of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF), under the supervision of two committed women, Violet Simaata, Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer, and Paulina Shilunga, Agricultural Scientific Officer, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR). They have been at the forefront of the locust control effort since it began last year and are reluctant to throw in the towel. “We are the last line of defence for thousands of farmers across the country, which is no easy task but we remain committed to ensuring that livelihoods are not severely impacted,” Shilunga says. The Government of Namibia has so far contributed 30 million Namibia dollars (USD 2.1 million) towards locust control efforts since the start of the outbreak. The government has indicated in its

Locusts in Southern Africa The African Migratory Locust swarms have been ravaging crop fields and grazing lands across four countries in the region: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. However, the pest has now spread across to other countries such as Angola and South Africa. In Namibia, two other locust species – the Red Locust and the Brown Locust – are known to have swarmed and damaged grazing in southern parts of the country. FAO support thanks to donors To complement government efforts, FAO, through funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Fund (CERF), Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Assistance (SFERA) and the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) has so far provided both technical and financial support of NAD 7 million (USD 480 000) to the Government of Namibia since last year. FAO support ensured that over 130 government staff were trained on how to control the locust outbreak and equipped with spraying and camping equipment, personal protective equipment, bio-pesticides, transportation, and locust surveillance and monitoring tools. Despite these interventions, more funding is required to ensure that agricultural livelihoods are safeguarded in the immediate term by ensuring that the locusts are brought under control before the next planting season.

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COVER-STORY

Mobile grain dryers for African agricultural producers Mobile Grain Drying Technology Made for Farmers by Farmers Usually, in grain production, there is more focus on maximising harvest on a field, at the expense of the efficiency of critical post-harvest technology like grain dryers. Often this results in huge losses as a result of poor grain production. Considering this, Mecmar is urging grain producers in Africa to invest in tried and tested technologies to get more value from their yield. Mecmar designs and engineers its grain dryers to suit conditions in which rugged tropical conditions in which African grain producers operate

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mall and medium scale grain producers in Africa - in Southern Africa in particular - are navigating their operations in an environment in which the effects of COVID-19 have significantly altered the business landscape. And in this atmosphere, with the sole view to keep afloat, they may be strongly tempted to rethink the approach to equipment procurement by using cost as the main determinant for their decisions. In relation to mobile grain dryers, compromise

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of sound procurement practices can backfire, especially for grain producers in Southern Africa, where conditions are rugged and uniquely tropical. Alternatively, prior to purchasing, they have to ask themselves whether or not the equipment they are considering to purchase would offer the expected level of efficiency and durability suitable to running a sustainable business.

This is what Mecmar representative, Giovanni Marcolongo, tells potential clientele in Africa, as he shares with Farmers Review Africa his organisation’s approach to addressing their needs and extensive know-how in mobile grain drying technology. The approach Mecmar’s machines have stood the taste of time in the face of imports from other regions of the


world. This is due to the company’s approach, which entails customer-centred design, engineering and manufacturing, on top of aftersale service, which offer convenience to the enduser. Made for farmers by farmers Stefano Marcolongo, who now works with Mecmar, a family business, reminisces seeing Mecmar’s machines being assembled on a farm long time ago. “I remember the summer days as a child while I was playing in the yard of the family farm. While my grandfather was driving home the combined harvesters, my father and uncles where busy working on assembling the first dryers. “It is a fact that many of our machines delivered in the 1980’s are still operating, so the long-life is field-proven,” states Stefano Marcolongo, underscoring Mecmar’s approach” Engaging farmers to seek their input in the design and engineering of mobile grain dryers informs Mecmar’s approach to product development. Actually, in the last 15+ years, Mecmar has been working closely with African grain producers to consistently provide them with products which are most suitable to their needs, as well as the African agricultural environment. Convenience Thanks to the customer input in product development, Mecmar’s mobile grain dryers offer the convenience any grain farmer would need. As the grain dryers are mobile, they can be moved from one farm to another; from one cooperative

to another; and from one province to another across the entire country. Also, the chassis and the structure are robust, and the height from the ground has been adjusted and has made them easy to be moved around, as well as more durable.

it is easy to operate, maintain and gives a very quick drying effect (for instance, a batch of maize corn can be dried, cooled and discharged from 20% to 14% in about 3-4 hours)”

Most importantly, what stands out in Mecmar’s mobile grain dryers is the short turnaround time in the process - from placing an order to operation.

Versatile applications The beauty of Mecmar mobile grain dryers is their versatility of applications. They can dry a wide range of cereals like maize, rice, soybeans, sunflowers, barley, wheat among others.

Marcolongo indicates, “A great advantage is that from the moment the dryer is delivered, it can take between 12 to 48 hours to have the dryer operating. This reduces time-consuming installations and operational costs. In addition, the dryer does not require further foundation work, or additional grain handling equipment. So,

Turnkey solution tailored for the agricultural sector Mecmar service team go all-out to ensure that clientele in the African agricultural sector fully the most of the benefits of grain dryers a turnkey solution. Turnkey solution encompasses the following: a robust mobile grain dryer, a basic and

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COVER-STORY a basic plus emergency spare parts kits, manuals, full training. Depending on the country, there can be up to 24/7 availability of staff for assistance. Together with the newly supplied mobile grain dryers, Mecmar supplies an emergency basic kit which includes consumable spares that are more likely to be needed in short-term. What is more, every time that Mecmar supplies a mobile grain dryer, in some countries, full training for local operators and technicians is provided, above and beyond, after sale service is readily available 24/7. In some cases, going further, the company arranges video service sessions, connecting the farmer directly with support staff at head offices, thousands of kilometres away. The support staff is able to perform the same service operation on a farmer’s machine as effectively as Mecmar operators on the machines onsite. Mecmar gives warranty on its machines. The grain dryers, which utilise state-of-the-art drying technology, are robust and have a lifetime of more than 30 to 40 years.

Dos and don’ts of purchasing mobile dryers There is no worse experience for a farming business than buying wrong equipment, then experiencing downtime and loss of production. Thus, Mecmar always advises commercial farmers to keep in mind the following dos and don’ts when purchasing mobile dryers: • A suitable tractor for a PTO mobile grain dryer should be chosen; • The dryer should have suitable power (typically between 15 and 45kW, depending on the size); • Avoid buying a mobile grain dryer which is too small or too big for daily production. Ensure that a correct size is chosen; • Avoid choosing a screen with big holes for any type of grain (i.e. for drying rapeseed a screen perforation of 1,5mm is recommended). “Basically, we work hand in hand with all our customers to help them purchase the mobile grain dryer which suits better their needs.”

Contented Rwandan Farmers Commend Mecmar Mobile Dryers A farmer in near Kigali

Constant improvement ensures product relevance Mecmar S.p.A. is constantly improving its mobile grain dryers to ensure optimal performance. This is manifest in its grain drying process, as Marcolongo demonstrates: “We use all the heat generated by the burner, and we keep recirculating the grains with a system that has evolved year by year. This guarantees a homogeneous drying of the whole batch, even though the grains loaded at the beginning have different moisture levels. “The dryer will give homogeneous drying grains at the discharge. The dryer automatically includes a cleaning effect so that the grains come out dried and cleaned.” Mecmar’s dryers have always been constantly evolving. There has a vast difference when one compares the first dryers manufactured in the 1970s and the current models. One thing which stands out is that all parts have changed. Based on continuous feedback from clients, Mecmar includes further customisations. There has been vast changes since the first dryers were manufactured the 1970s. All parts have been changed since. Based on the continuous feedback from the customers, the team of engineers includes further customisations, says Marcolongo. “Our engineers keep working on developments concerning extending the life of mechanical moving parts and improving energy efficiency of the machine. We are under testing phases and some news will be released soon.”

’MECMAR mobile drying machines are very convenient because, these days, with climate, a farmer cannot easily predict the weather pattern to dry grain. With the machines, drying is efficient and effective, resulting in increased harvest and high cereal quality. We also eliminate labour costs on drying grain.”

with purchasing MECMAR drying machines to improve grain production in the country. Certainly, this will improve the standard of living and result in economic growth. I also appeal to the manufacturing industry in Italy so that they have their agents here present to enable farmers have easy access to spare parts.’’

“By purchasing a mobile dryer, the farmer has a key ready machine that performs loading, drying, cooling, cleaning and discharge all-inone, only a tractor (or el. Power), diesel and grains are required for doing the job.”

“We used to spend a lot on labour costs to dry grain in the sun for a long time. This resulted in accumulated labour costs. Drying in the sun is cumbersome, involving spreading and collecting grain when it rains and put it in storage facilities while they are not dried. When repeated several times, this is costly, tiresome and boring.”

Gatete Augustine – a Farmer at Kayonza sector, Eastern Rwanda ‘’Farmers here are extremely happy because we have a machine which dries our maize produce

just right within our neighbourhood. Previously, we used to suffer huge losses using the traditional method of drying maize in the sun. These days we just bring our maize to the machine and, within a short time it dry ready for the market or for safe custody in stores. Most importantly, we are happy that our produce is fetching a good price.

“MECMAR drying machines are also handy as they are mobile. They can serve several farmers a day drying tons and tons of maize, rice and other crops.” ‘’My appeal to the Government, banks and other financial institutions is to seriously consider financing cooperatives and individual farmers

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“Personally, I am looking forward to working closely with MECMAR mobile drier and get more value from my grain. “‘’My advice to fellow farmers is to get up and use effectively this technology to avoid unnecessarily loss during the post-harvest period.’’


LESS LOSSES & TOXINES MORE VALUE & QUALITY TO YOUR MAIZE

Grain dryers for farmers, coops and drying centers.


FEATURE

SupPlant

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oday SupPlant, the leading precision agriculture hardware-software solution, is excited to announce its recent funding round, raising $10M partially dedicated to accelerating its penetration into the South African Market. The round is co-led by Boresight Capital, Menomadin Foundation, Smart-Agro Fund and Mivtah Shamir. The raise brings SupPlants’s total funding to more than $19M. The round comes amidst global warming impacting South African farmers who are dealing daily with the unpredicted climate that is changing rapidly causing tropical storms, cold spells, heat waves and constant lack of irrigation water. SupPlant is helping farmers cope with climate change by making its technology that changes the basic

concepts of irrigation more available in the South African market. This unique technology saves water, reduces costs, improves productivity and yield. SupPlant uses agronomic algorithms, artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology to help farmers achieve these goals. SupPlant measures the stress of the plant and monitors water content alongside plant and fruit growth patterns with sensors located on 4 parts of the plant. This data is then combined with realtime and forecasted climatic data and creates a plant based monitoring tool for farmers to follow their crops in real time.

All this info is then uploaded every 10 minutes to an algorithm in the cloud, which provides simple, precise irrigation recommendations to farmers based on the integration of all this data. SupPlant’s database holds the combined expertise of 31 crops across 14 countries, covering growing conditions from dry arid regions of the Middle East to tropical conditions in central America. SupPlant’s vision is that its technology will be integrated into every irrigation command given on earth. SupPlant experienced a growth of 1200% in 2020, and is widely used in Mexico, Australia and Argentina. SupPlant is represented and distributed in South Africa by AECI Plant Health. “The funds raised in this round will allow us to speed up implementation of our technology in South Africa with the support of our partners AECI Plant Health. It is far superior from any common practice available” said Ori Ben Ner, CEO of SupPlant “We aim to reach as many South African farmers as possible and help them use less water and produce more and better fruit.” “We’ve been amazed with SupPlant’s advanced products since day one,” said Jeffrey Swartz, Partner at Boresight. “As the former CEO of Timberland and a leader of in the sustainable commerce and justice sphere, I Initially set out to invest in one company that is making a difference in the world, and chose SupPlant. They will have a true impact on the future of the humanities ability in regards to water deficit and meeting food demands.”

Supplant Family R-L Uri Ben Ner Ceo, Zohar Ben Ner Founder, Avner Ben Ner Gradfather Farmer

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ZooOmics™, the animal genetics division of inqaba biotec™ (est. 2002) has been dedicated to providing accurate genetic tests and exceptional client service for over a decade to sub-Saharan Africa.

CANINE GENETICS DNA profiling, parentage verification, health testing and colour testing in canines. FELINE GENETICS DNA profiling, parentage verification, health testing and colour testing in felines developed on a demand basis. CATTLE GENETICS Cattle DNA profiling and parentage is based on ISAG and FAO STR markers/SNP markers and mutation analysis. WILDLIFE GENETICS Wildlife DNA profiling is offered for several species using an extensive highly informative STR marker panel for routine DNA profiling and parentage. Wildlife subspecies services provided for Sable, Roan and Eland.

We comply with reputable international and national organisations, provide 100 tests, with over 10 years of animal genetics experience. Genetics is an evolving and innovating field and our expert team have maintained our place at the forefront by contributing to the industry and developing these cutting-edge techniques.

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071 493 21 37 l E-mail: info@zooOmics.co.za Facebook: www.facebook.com/inqababiotec l


FEATURE

AGCO Africa presents Africa Agribusiness Qualification to tackle youth unemployment

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ast year the estimated youth unemployment rate in South Africa was 55.5%. This represents a major challenge for both the education and labour sectors, specifically in terms of skills development and retention. In addition, Africa’s youth population is burgeoning, with over 60% being under the age of 35 in most African countries. “We need to change this narrative and encourage young people to embrace agriculture by building their capability to leverage on the available agribusiness opportunities to generate sustainable incomes, build sustainable economies and achieve food security,” says AGCO Managing Director: Africa Dr Dominik Reus. To assist in addressing the skills gap, AGCO Africa is driving a skills development initiative under the banner of ‘Advancement in Agricultural Education’. Fullyfunded by the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), the initial intake for the Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) will comprise 20 participants. “We believe that access to quality education and hands-on training leads to the enhancement of capacity building and skill development in farming,” says Metti Richenhagen, Director, AAF. “Almost two-thirds of the world’s arable land is in Africa, so the continent has great potential to feed itself and the global population. Through the AAQ programme, we hope to empower Africans who have a passion for the agricultural sector, particularly technical and sales representatives, who can serve as trusted partners to African farmers.”

Commencing on 1 September 2021, the AAQ program will provide successful participants with quality agro-industry training, technical and sales skills, leadership development, agro-entrepreneurship management and work experience. Fully-funded by AAF, and implemented through the AGCO Africa Head Office in Johannesburg, the AAQ programme is facilitated through the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), together with Harper Adams University in the UK. Furthermore, technical expertise and support are provided by AGCO South Africa and Cerealis Technology Institute in South Africa. The AAQ is a 12-month, part-time accelerated programme targeting participants from across the continent. Activities will be hosted in South Africa and include virtual lectures (theory), field training (practical) and workplace experience. The 12-month programme will be delivered in six modules. “The main objective of the AAQ programme is to empower participants with technical and sales skills, knowledge, training and opportunities needed to create a robust agribusiness sector for Africa,” says Dr Reus.

AGCO Africa Managing Director Dr Dominik Reus

“We are confident that once the participants have completed the course, they will be able to contribute to the agricultural industry in a meaningful, sustainable and profitable manner. We must ensure that our resources, including soils, biodiversity and environments, are well protected as we strive to achieve high quality and efficiency of production. We can achieve this by equipping talented individuals with the right range of skills and attitudes to impact the agricultural sector,” adds Dr Reus.

This will contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 of the United Nations: Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. The AAF is a private foundation committed to ending hunger through sustainable agricultural development. In order to extend the coverage of the AAQ programme and make it accessible to even more people, AAF and AGCO in Africa are inviting organisations and stakeholders in the agri-food value chains to support, collaborate and contribute to the programme.

AAQ Programme Timeline

AGCO Africa is driving a skills development initiative under the banner of ‘Advancement in Agricultural Education’

Application opens: 25 May 2021 Applications Close: 11 June 2021 Notifications of Shortlist: 25 June 2021 Interviews with Selection Committee: 28 June to 16 July 2021 Send out Letters of Acceptance: 19 July 2021 Confirmation of Acceptance: 30 July 2021 Program Start Date: 1 September 2021 Graduation Date: August 2022 Online applications for the September 2021 intake are now open. Apply online today at https://www. agcofoundation.org/aaq//. Applications close on 11 June 2021.

For more enquiries about the Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) programme, please contact AAQ@agcocorp.com Learn more about the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) at https://www.agcofoundation.org/

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IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT

DISPLAY

FLOWMETERS

PRESSURE AND ONE-WAY VALVES

BALL VALVES

FITTINGS

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


FEATURE

Agrico Pivot with internet control. On the cell phone screen one can see how pumps and pivots are controlled on the same application.

Save energy and irrigate more profitably with AGRICO’s GPS based Web Control 38 | May - June 2021


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grico recently introduced a new GPS controller, with which pivots can be controlled on Agrico’s well-known internet application. By controlling pumps according to the specific need of the pivots, heaps of energy are saved. Devices on the internet Advanced Rain Pivot Control and Pump Control connect irrigation devices to the Internet on Agrico’s Rain interface. The whole system is managed easily and accurately. New GPS module Agric’s new GPS can be installed on any electrical pivot. The position of the last tower is determined accurately. The pressure can be monitored at the end of the centre pivots and with Agrico’s Pump Control and a VFD (variable frequency drive) the pressure can be controlled automatically and accurately.

See the green cylindrical Agrico control unit, with its GPS antenna on the last tower of another make pivot.

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FEATURE

The following graph shows how the Agrico system accurately controls the pressure, according to the need of the pivot. The spray package requires a minimum pressure of 100kPa at the end of the machine for correct, uniform irrigation. Traditionally, the irrigation system is then designed with a constant inlet pressure to continuously meet the maximum pressure requirement (at the highest point); about 450kPa in this case. However, the pressure at the centre can be varied between about 240kPa and 450kPa due to the topography to exactly meet the pressure requirements and thus save energy.

This screen grab illustrates the functionality of the system, making it easy to operate large irrigation systems with various centre pivots, pumps, dam levels, valves, irrigation blocks etc. on a single platform.

The value of pressure control with AGRICO’S GPS module Here is a real example of a pivot, with a large height difference between the highest and lowest points:

The graph shows how the Agrico control system automatically responds by varying the inlet pressure at the centre (the solid red line) to continuously maintain the required pressure at the end of the machine (the blue dotted line). The actual end pressure is also indicated (solid blue line).

The total energy for one revolution of the pivot is equivalent to the area under the pressure curve. The energy saving with Agrico’s GPS pressure control, for this real case is more than 28%. AGRICO Web Control offers the best technology: •

Dynamic System Pressure - With this integrated solution, pressure can be optimized automatically, with huge energy savings.

Positioning - Better accuracy by means of optional GPS.

Security - Web Control utilizes the latest user and device authentication to increase security. User rights can be granted individually. Complete record of all user actions is kept for audit purposes.

Increases irrigation efficiency through accurate control.

Facilitate the operation and management of the irrigation system.

Reduce energy consumption and increase profitability.

24 Months free internet control subscription with each new controller. SMS communication is optionally available.

This is a Google image with 2 m contours. The graph shows the height profile on the circumference. The total height difference is 21 m and the maximum height is 13 m higher than the average height. The white section on the graph represents, potential energy savings that can be achieved with pressure control.

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Updates with the latest software versions, via the internet.

The product is supported by a 24/7 technical helpline.


NEWS & INSIGHT

Feeding a Hungry Planet Bayer brings “Feeding a Hungry Planet” into focus by inviting young leaders around the globe to apply for the 5th biennial Youth Ag Summit

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100 chosen delegates will be invited to a virtual global forum on November 1617 / Bayer will collaborate with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Babele on a 10-week Youth Ag Summit (YAS) University following the forum with online mentoring from industry leaders and YAS alumni Applications close June 30, 2021 Applications are now open for the 2021 Youth Ag Summit, a global forum and biennially organized conference where young leaders collaborate to develop sustainable solutions for food security and global agriculture as they work toward becoming global instruments of change. While this is the 5th biennial Youth Ag Summit, it will be the first virtual YAS event. This year’s cohort will also benefit from another exciting YAS first. As an official global partner with Bayer for this year’s forum, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), in partnership with technology company Babele, will also provide a virtual idea incubator called YAS University where delegates will continue to learn entrepreneurship and leadership skills, receive coaching from mentors, and improve their own

“Thrive for Change” project concepts throughout a 10-week period following the November summit. The summit’s overall theme, “Feeding a Hungry Planet,” is based on the United Nations’ prediction that the planet’s population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050 and will be faced with food security challenges. The 100 delegates selected to participate in this year’s Youth Ag Summit will be tasked to work on developing solutions to this challenge using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations as their framework. “We believe there is a strong need for young leaders to be engaged in developing a healthier food and agricultural system,” said Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Crop Science Division. “Through their work at the 2021 Youth Ag Summit young leaders will broaden their network, be empowered through new transferrable skills and knowledge, and be inspired to take action.” Application for the 2021 Youth Ag Summit is open to young people of any background aged 18-25. Potential delegates will be asked to share

their motivation to join the summit, their previous advocacy experience and a 3-minute video pitch explaining their project idea on “How to feed a hungry planet.” Examples of projects pitched and developed from earlier summits include the opening of Sri Lanka’s Kadamandiya Food Bank and the establishment of a Madagascar health clinic where workers harvest essential grains in fields nearby to supplement their patient’s nutritional needs. Applicants should be personally, professionally, and academically interested in agriculture, international development, environmental stewardship, food security, biotechnology, and/ or farming. To apply for the Youth Ag Summit 2021, please visit www.youthagsummit.com. To learn more, follow #AgvocatesWithoutBorders on Twitter and Youth Ag Summit (@ youthagsummit) on the YAS Instagram channel.

May - June 2021| 41


FEATURE NEWS & INSIGHT

African Migratory Locusts threaten livelihoods in Southern Africa

We were expecting a plentiful harvest this year but the locust outbreak is threatening to undo our hard work,” says a visibly distressed Wilhem Asser. Asser is a communal farmer in Elim, a rural settlement nestled in Namibia’s north central region of Omusati. The area has had its share of the invasion of the devastating African Migratory Locusts (AML) which first hit southern Africa in mid-2020 and which has been overshadowed by the Desert Locust emergency in eastern Africa. “In all my 75 years of life I have never witnessed something as horrifying as this,” Asser says. About 300 subsistence farming households in his area have been affected by these locusts that feed on grass, maize, millet, sorghum, wheat and other green vegetation. In all the affected regions, more than 5000 farming households are expected to be heavily impacted by the scourge. All hands on deck to salvage livelihoods It is 3:30am on a chilly Thursday morning in Elim when a team of agricultural extension officers clad in white overalls and black safety gumboots arrive in a convoy of pick-up trucks. The officers hop from their vehicles and quickly join a delegation of senior officers from the government, the FAO Representative in Namibia and other officials from her office in a circle of bodies. Their sense of haste is evident; there is clearly no time to waste. They are the front line fighting the locust enemy: a swarm is covering a one-kilometre stretch of grassland that serves as a grazing area for villagers’ livestock. On their feet, the extension officers receive their early morning brief before embarking on their task. Villages under siege Elim is just one of the many villages joining a growing list of hundreds of locust-infested farming settlements in the north-central, north-eastern and southern parts of Namibia where thousands of local inhabitants are facing a serious threat to their livelihoods. Like Asser, many villagers’ crop fields are under threat from the locust swarms and families are worried about the prospects of attaining a good harvest this year. “Most farmers in this village feel helpless and powerless against the menacing locusts.

42 | May - June 2021

the pests. Margaret Matengu, Head of the Plant Health Unit in the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) in MAWLR said that the fight against the African Migratory Locust can be won with adequate resources and collaboration from both the private and public sector to avert a major crisis.

A girl walks through a cloud of locusts in northcentral Namibia. ©FAO/Phillipus Tobias

They come in their thousands and quickly attempt to devour everything in their path that is green; we are very frightened by their viciousness,” says Absalom Nembenge, a communal farmer in Ekamba, located a few kilometres east of Elim. Meanwhile, the farmers are trying everything from burning tires to making noise to try to chase away the pests. “They [locusts] descended upon our crop field like a devastating cloud at around 4p.m. yesterday. I was highly alarmed and quickly called my wife and the children to join me in the field to ward them off. We spent an entire afternoon burning tires and banging metals, corrugated iron sheets and pots, to create noise that we hoped would scare the locusts off,” Absalom recounts. Fighting the good fight The Government locust spraying teams are comprised of agricultural officers and members of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF), under the supervision of two committed women, Violet Simaata, Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer, and Paulina Shilunga, Agricultural Scientific Officer, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR). They have been at the forefront of the locust control effort since it began last year and are reluctant to throw in the towel. “We are the last line of defence for thousands of farmers across the country, which is no easy task but we remain committed to ensuring that livelihoods are not severely impacted,” Shilunga says. The Government of Namibia has so far contributed 30 million Namibia dollars (USD 2.1 million) towards locust control efforts since the start of the outbreak. The government has indicated in its appeal that an additional NAD 28 million (USD 2 million) is needed to contain

Farayi Zimudzi, FAO Representative in Namibia, reiterated FAO’s continued commitment to support the efforts of the government to mount timely and effective control campaigns. She called on the donor community to invest in containing the locusts now to avoid the situation escalating into a humanitarian crisis. “Only through collaborative effort can we overcome this serious threat to food security and the livelihoods of thousands of people,” she said. Locusts in Southern Africa The African Migratory Locust swarms have been ravaging crop fields and grazing lands across four countries in the region: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. However, the pest has now spread across to other countries such as Angola and South Africa. In Namibia, two other locust species – the Red Locust and the Brown Locust – are known to have swarmed and damaged grazing in southern parts of the country. FAO support thanks to donors To complement government efforts, FAO, through funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Fund (CERF), Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Assistance (SFERA) and the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) has so far provided both technical and financial support of NAD 7 million (USD 480 000) to the Government of Namibia since last year. FAO support ensured that over 130 government staff were trained on how to control the locust outbreak and equipped with spraying and camping equipment, personal protective equipment, bio-pesticides, transportation, and locust surveillance and monitoring tools. Despite these interventions, more funding is required to ensure that agricultural livelihoods are safeguarded in the immediate term by ensuring that the locusts are brought under control before the next planting season.


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