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Volume 4. Issue 3. May/June 2018


Editor’s Note

A few notes on Africa’s soybean production................................................................4

frica has suffered losses in agriculture over the years. The number, however, is gradually hitting alarming levels with postharvest practices being singled out as the main culprit. Unfortunately, every aspect of agricultural output is affected; from fresh produce to dry produce like grains. Pest such as the army worm are also contributing to the losses, with FAO going as far as rewarding the most outstanding innovation that will help combat the menace. Fortunately, there are innovations in place to help prevent the losses. For instance, the adoption of cost-effective technologies could help smallholder farmers across Africa not only tackle postharvest losses, but also increase their income. Companies have also come up with noble technologies such as Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags, metal silos and zero energy cool chamber (ZECC) that help the farmers curb losses. In this issue, Farmers Review, highlights the issue of post harvest losses in Africa as well as some of the innovations that have come up in a bid to address the same.

AGCO opens new Africa headquaters............................................................................5 Zimbabwe cotton farmers to be paid an export incentive of 10%................6 Unchanged interest rates bode well for Agric sector ............................................7 Cover: PETKUS Group silo solution Executive Editor Lee Daniels Writers - Silimina Derick, Bertha M. Contributing Writers Nqobile Bhebhe Zimbabwe Oscar Nkala Botswana Bertha M South Africa Nita Karume Kenya Advertising Executive Russou Billiard, Cleopas M., Mkhululi K., East Africa Advertising Executives Mercy Cherono, Ken Okore, Anthony Kiganda, Project Manager Victor Ndlovu Graphic Design & Layout Augustine Ombwa Correspondents - Isabel Banda Sales & Marketing Cleopas Moyo Mandla M. Mthokozisi M East African Liaison Arobia Creative Consultancy P. O. Box 2922-00200, Nairobi Kenya Tel: +254 772 187334, 790 153505 Published by Mailing Times Media +27 11 044 8986

Farmers tackle poor soils, low yields with conservation agriculture...............8 Farmers count US$1.5Bn loss in wasted food............................................................9 Rwanda’s declining cassava production..........................................................................11

Features Tilting Trade Towards Africa: ...............................................................................................18 Access to Safe Surgery and Anesthesia still rare in Afric....................................20 Preserving Africa’s Agricultural Revolution With Innovation.............................22 Why innovation-driven economies are key for Africa’s development........24 Artificial intelligence is revolutionising agriculture...................................................25

Opinions Tilting Trade Towards Africa: ...............................................................................................18 Access to Safe Surgery and Anesthesia still rare in Afric....................................20 Preserving Africa’s Agricultural Revolution With Innovation.............................22 Why innovation-driven economies are key for Africa’s development........24 Artificial intelligence is revolutionising agriculture...................................................25

Technology Fall Army Tech Prize: Highest Number of Entries from Africa.........................26 Organize Trade Data & Manage Trading Compliance...........................................37

Products Top UK built grain driers Now available in Africa...................................................28 Changing the face of the gardening equipment industry.....................................30 The Nampo 2018 agricultural trade successful for HPE Africa......................32


Maize and sunflower harvest heads.................................................................................34 AFGRI Equipment and John Deere automation data extraordinaire..........36 Case IH’s new planter makes its first appearance at Nampo 2018.............38

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

Nita Karume



NEWS Kenyan agricultural experts call for the implementation of GMO seeds as a way to combat fall army worm By Nita Karume


gricultural experts in Kenya are presently pushing for the implementation of genetically modified seeds by the government. This, according to them, will help towards the control of the fll army worm that has been plaguing maize production in the country. Farmers and researchers, under the sponsorship of Cereals Growers Association (CGA), said the fall army worm threatens to destroy 70% of projected harvests. Mr. James Njiru, a senior research officer with CGA claims that there is evidence subjecting the armyworm to laboratory procedures of engineering seeds. This, he alleges, is with a view to create a thriving market for pesticides. He goes on to add that unfortunately no manufacturer has been able to access an effective pesticide. This is due to the fact that any viable solution must be under trial for at least three seasons. This is where the GMO initiative comes in, since according to him, the variety

will be having an inbuilt guard against such attacks by specific pesticides. Mr. Njiru further added that said trials for GMO maize varieties have been successful in Uganda. Moreover, they have since transformed the country into a mass exporter of maize. Meanwhile, Kenya continues to struggle with acute shortages. However, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has since disputed such science to be the solution to the armyworm pest. Kiunjuri argues that according to his knowledge from interaction with European countries, the fall army worm cannot be neutered by use of any known pesticide so far in the market. This, he says, is also in supporting documented evidence, This comes as Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria launches a program to distribute to his maize farmers free pesticides that he claims to have the ability to fight the worm. On the other hand, none has posted scientifically plausible results.

A few notes on Africa’s soybean production by Wandile Sihlobo


outh Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Egypt are the only African countries amongst the world’s top 40 soybean producers, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). South Africa is the only African country with a production of over a million tons. In the current season, the crop is estimated at 1.4 million tons. This is due to an increase in area planted, technological improvements in the form of seeds, fertilizers and better farming practices, amongst others. A large number of South African farmers are increasingly planting genetically modified (GM) soybean crops. In the 2016/2017 production season, roughly 95% of South Africa’s soybean plantings were under GM seeds. This is the only country on the African continent that produces GM soya beans. Therefore, it is no coincidence that South Africa continues to enjoy tremendous growth in soybean output, while production in other African countries


remains negligible. The closest to South Africa’s production level is Nigeria, where output averaged 640 000 tons over the past five seasons. Recent data from the USDA shows that Nigeria’s 2017/2018 soybean production could amount to 600 000 tons, roughly unchanged from the previous season due to unfavourable weather conditions over the past few months. This is slightly below Nigeria’s annual consumption of 610 000 tons of soya beans. Zambia’s and Zimbabwe’s 2017/2018 soybean production could amount to 300 000 tons and 50 000 tons, respectively down by 15% and 29% from the previous production season. The decline in production in both countries is due to unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. The soybean production in both Uganda and Egypt is negligible, estimated at 30 000 tons and 25 000 tons ,respectively.

NEWS AGCO opens new Africa headquaters

By Nita Karume

By FRA Team


GCO has recently opened new headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Martin Richenhagen, the company’s CEO and chairman outlined how the company with annual global sales of $8.3 billion would make major investments on the African continent. He has also called for startups to disrupt traditional agricultural practices in efforts to address the challenges of food security, farmer livelihood and resource efficiency. This was during the 6th annual summit held in Berlin earlier on this year. This year’s summit exposed those in attendance to 12 startups with agricultural applications in big data, cloud software, robotics, new crops development, smart fertilizing and urban farming. Mr. Richenhagen said that the firm is looking to meet the challenge to grow more food with fewer resources head-on. The firm also has AGCO Future Farm and Training Center based in Zambia. According to Mr. Richenhagen, AGCO has partnered with both its national distributor BHBW Zambia Limited and the Zambian National Commercial Bank Plc.

Eastern Africa grapples with food shortages caused by floods

This partnership will go a long way in providing retail financial solutions for farmers purchasing machinery from AGCO’s Massey Ferguson brand. He also pointed to the launch of the accredited twoyear agribusiness program titled the “AGCO Business Qualification” with the Strathmore Business School in Nairobi, Kenya, Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom and the Kenya-based The Bridge Africa, which prepares graduates for employment. This took off in March of this year. The two-year agribusiness program for degree-holders aged 20-30 was initiated to attract and develop talent in the agribusiness sector. So far. 20 students have been enrolled in the program. Furthermore, successful candidates may have the opportunity to join AGCO and its partners upon completion of the course. The firm’s senior VP and GM for Africa and Asia-Pacific, Gary Collar, said that the company, in conjunction with its partners, is looking to address the shortage in management skills. He went on to add that they are willing to nurture the expertise needed to work successfully in the agricultural sector.


astern Africa will continue to grapple with food shortages because of the floods. Over the past weekend, a series of small Kenyan dams collapsed, killing five people. These become the latest victims of the floods that began around the main wet season in March. The floods are also responsible for deaths in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Tanzania. So heavy are the floods that they carry away not only livestock, but also houses and entire villages as well. Transport systems have also been interrupted. The Food and Agriculture Organization land and water officer Valere Nzeyimana said that the floods have worsened the already alarming situation that is food security. This flooding comes barely a year after eastern Africa faced its worst drought in 60 years. This, on the other hand, left more than 11 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia in need of food aid. Furthermore, Kenya suffered a slump in maize production. This affected

the country’s strategic grain reserve to less than a day’s supply. It also caused shortages of products such as sugar and milk. In Kenya, a record 21,000 acres of crops-and counting- have been destroyed, with 20,000 animals swept away and irrigation systems damaged. This is according to media reports. Similarly, Rwanda lost up to 12,355 acres of crops. That is besides the destruction of farming infrastructure. Nzeyimana said grain storage and drying facilities in rural areas had also been flooded. This has also affected crops that had been harvested prior. However, media reports have it that there may be little relief later in the year. However, there’s an increasing chance during the October to December short rains season of an impact from the El Nino. This, according to FAO, could lead to droughts in parts of the world and floods elsewhere..


NEWS Zimbabwe cotton farmers to be paid an export incentive of 10%

by Wandile Sihlobo

By Nita Karume


otton growers from Zimbabwe will be paid an export incentive of 10%. This is a move by the Government to boost production of the crop. In a statement released yesterday, the Reserve Bank governor, Dr John Mangudya, said farmers will also get $40 cash per each bale sold. He further added that the balance of the same will be deposited into the grower’s account or mobile wallet account. This, he says, is in preparation of the looming cotton marketing season. As such, he requested the cotton wholesalers to submit a list of growers as well as their account details before the 7th of each month to ensure smooth operations as far as the incentive payment is concerned. According to Mangudya, the payment of particular sum to the farmers also seeks to promote the use of plastic money. Mr. Mangudya also clarified that purchase of the cotton seeds shall continue through

Africa’s Sunflowerseed Industry Not Well Established

the use of offshore lines of credit. As such, the cotton wholesalers were advised to secure offshore lines of credit prior to purchasing seed cotton. He further added that only the cotton wholesalers that are financed by the government and those financing cotton production from their own pockets will be allowed to purchase the cotton seeds. This, he says, is to avoid any doubt and or confusion Cotton is an important crop in Zimbabwe and as such, the farmers require sufficient funding. It provides raw materials for the textile industry, cooking oil and stock feeds manufacturers. For the past season, the Presidential Inputs Scheme has been solely responsible for the funding of cotton production in the country. The scheme, which was to run for three years, has seen an appeal from the cotton growers who seek an extension from the government.


hardly write about Africa’s sunflower seed industry because there is not much to say about it. The industry is not yet well developed. South Africa, Morocco and Egypt are the only African countries amongst the world’s top 29 sunflower seed producers, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The world’s leading sunflower seed producers are Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, China, Romania and Hungary, collectively accounting for 72 percent share of global harvest of 48.3 million tonnes in the 2017/18 season. In the continent, South Africa is on the lead with production averaging 780 000 tonnes in the past five seasons. This equates to roughly 2 percent share of global sunflower seed production. Morocco and Egypt are small players and this is evident on 2017/18 production estimates, with Egypt’s sunflower seed crop at 19 000 tonnes, unchanged from the previous season. Morocco’s 2017/18 sunflower seed production could reach 27 000


tonnes, also unchanged from the previous season. To service the growing sunflower oil demand, the continent imports large volumes of sunflower oil. In 2017, the continent’s sunflower oil imports amounted to 717 384, which is roughly in line with the volume imported in the previous years. The leading importers were Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mozambique, Mauritius and Senegal accounting a collective share of 96 percent of the total imported sunflower oil. The key suppliers of sunflower oil to the continent are typically Bulgaria, Argentina, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Netherlands and Portugal. I should mention that a couple of organisation are working on the development of oilseed value chains in East Africa, which is expected to stimulate the production of different vegetable oils. I hope that in the coming years there will more interesting things to discuss, than developments in just three countries – South Africa, Morocco and Egypt.

NEWS Unchanged interest rates bode well for Agric sector

Digital farming in Kenya Nita karume

By FRA Team


rom an agriculture perspective, unchanged rates bode well for the sector as it is grappling with a national agriculture debt in excess of R160 million. Producers, particularly in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape are still grappling with losses from the recent drought and the relatively low interest rates will alleviate pressure on profitability. Since the MPC review in March, the rand depreciated considerably to nearly R13 against the US dollar and the international price of Brent crude oil prices have edged closer to US$80/ barrel. In addition, market expectations are that fuel prices will increase further early next month. This is not good news for inflation which has been way below the midpoint of the SARB target of range of 3% to 6% at 3.8% during March 2018. Nonetheless, inflation is expected to remain on the low side of 5% and this combined with expectation of an improvement in the overall economy will afford the SARB to maintain rates at 6.5% but hawkish in its statement.


he East Africa Digital Conference and Exhibition is set to be the first ever of its kind in Kenya. This is as far as digital farming is concerned. The event dubbed Harness the benefits of technology and drive adoption of these tools by farmers will kick off on Tuesday, 29th of May at the KALRO Headquarters, Kaptagat Road in Nairobi at 10.00am. The event is organized by Smart Farmer Africa in partnership with KALRO and Standard Media Group as Media Partners. It aims to help farmers and other value chain actors to take advantage of the benefits of digital technology in farming. And they, in turn, to spearhead the adoption of these digital tools. Digital farming has enabled farmers to gain easy access to markets, and quality seed as well as accurate weather prediction. The conference will bring together government ministries, international development agencies, smallholder farmers, farmer groups, the public and over 50 firms in agriculture, technology and

The event is organized by Smart Farmer Africa in partnership with KALRO and Standard Media Group as Media Partners. investment to name but a few. It will also provide a platform for networking and knowledge sharing on how to best harness the power of digital technology in agriculture. Digital Farming is the application of new technologies such as data science, digital communication channels, and automation on the field. This way more and more farmers have access to better insights to take more optimal decisions and drive up yields. For instance, in crop nutrition, it will mean finding the optimum fertilization program for individual fields, helping farmers to decide when and how much to apply, and react to variations in different parts of a field. The advent of digital farming is a step toward finding a way to produce more food with the use of less resources and in a more responsible

way. This is because challenges such as the demand for higher quality food, climate change, water scarcity and significant population growth are gradually increasing. As such, there is need to come up with new weapons to not only improve the way we grow food, but maintain it as well. Essentially, digital technology enables us to bring knowhow to remote farms and reach millions of farmers. Furthermore, it could not come at a more opportune time, since according to FAO, the world is plagued with a challenge of developing lasting solutions to feed a projected nine billion people by the year 2050. This, according to the report, will require a 70% increase in food production. Additionally, the World Bank has noted that such efforts require to be increased by ensuring minimal food losses and efficient supply chain management efforts in order to contribute to the population predictions. That is, besides increasing productivity. Digital farming is expected to play a major role in agricultural development in the developing world. This is because many ICT solutions have proven affordable to small holder and resource poor farmers that make up about 80% of the farming community in the region. As such, digital farming becomes necessary in addressing many of these concerns by enabling, enhancing and facilitating solutions in the sector. This, in turn, helps in the realization of outcomes in agriculture that initially would have taken a longer period to achieve.



Kenyan farmers tackle poor soils, low yields with conservation agriculture


o thousands of maize and beans farmers in Kenya a new low cost model of farming is improving their soil health and increasing their yields at a time when declining soil fertility, lack of access to inputs and increasing droughts has taken a toll on farm fields further fanning hunger and income insecurity. To intensify food production and boost earnings for smallholder farmers in Kenya, the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project is promoting ‘conservation agriculture’ (CA)-based production techniques. Collaborating with over 235,000 farming households across eastern and southern Africa, the project aims to improve soil health and boost yields by helping smallholders to imple-

ment sustainable CA-based practices, such as minimum soil disturbance, crop residue retention and intercropping. To further promote productivity, SIMLESA also provides farmers with training in agronomy such as how to optimize the application of inputs like herbicides and fertilizer. For 70 year-old Mary Nasimiyu Walukhu, a farmer from Bungoma County in western Kenya, the idea of preparing her land by spraying herbicide – as opposed to plowing the fields prior to planting – sounded too simplistic to be believed. Throughout her farming life she had adopted the traditional methods of plowing using oxen or tractor; however, with such resources in limited supply in her village, this often led to planting delays and, subsequently, chronic food shortages. “People thought we were

crazy when they saw us spraying our land and they warned us that we would damage our soils and get no harvest,” she said. In 2012, Mary was invited to receive training from the SIMLESA project by a local agricultural extension officer from the county’s department of agriculture. Along with 25 other farmers, she learned the importance of minimal soil disturbance and to dig holes only where seeds were to be planted to reduce soil erosion. She also learned how to space her maize and legume seeds to optimize yields, as well as the correct application rates for manure and fertilizer to improve soil nutrient levels. “People thought we were crazy when they saw us spraying our land and they warned us that we would damage our soils and get no harvest,” says Mary. But, in spite of her


scepticism, she set aside 1 acre of her 2.5 acre farm to test the CA-based practices. From the first harvest after adopting the SIMLESA practices, Mary obtained 16 (90 kg) bags of maize, where previously, she would harvest just three bags. Following these promising results, Mary was conscious to apply the advised rates of manure and fertilizer when preparing her land for the next season and increased her harvest again to 22 bags. “My yields keep on increasing!” she exclaims. Mary has also joined a SIMLESA ‘innovation platform’ (agricultural knowledge exchange and action forum). Being a part of this 30-member group has enabled her to afford inputs like herbicide, fertilizer and improved seeds at discounted prices as the group is able to buy in bulk collectively. According to Mary, the use of quality inputs has not only improved her yields, but has saved her time, labor and expense. “Labor saving is one of the key factors driving adoption of CA-based sustainable intensification technologies and practices. The other factor is that in using these technologies and practices, productivity is increased without compromising the ability of the environment to meet the needs of future generations,” explains Charles Nkonge, SIMLESA-Kenya country coordinator. “Under CA-based options, crops are grown without plowing or hand weeding. Herbicides are used instead and this results in large savings,” says Charles.

NEWS Prior to the training, Mary would spend KSH 6,000 (US $60) on plowing services, but since using herbicides, she spends just KSH 1,000 (US $10) per acre. “In using sustainable intensification practices, productivity is increased without compromising the ability of the environment to meet the needs of future generations,” Charles added. As part of the innovation platform, group marketing has also enabled Mary to achieve a higher price for her maize. Before joining the group, she would sell a bag of maize for around KSH 1,800, but since bulk selling with the group, she is able to receive higher prices of between KSH 4,000-6,000 . As a result, Mary no longer relies on her husband for money and is able to contribute to her grandchildren’s school fees. With her increased earnings, Mary has also improved her nutrition security through the purchase of chickens to provide eggs for household consumption. She has also bought an Ayshire heifer, from which she aims to produce and sell milk to further increase her earnings. “This (SIMLESA) project has really taken off and helped our farmers,” says Isaac Amusavi, an extension officer from Bungoma County government who has trained 2,000 farmers in CA-based techniques through SIMLESA. According to Isaac, since the project began in 2010, he has witnessed average maize yield increases from 5 to 18 (90 kg) bags per acre. For beans, yields have increased from 1 to 3-4 bags per acre. Bungoma County extension officers are also training farmers in best agronomic practices and postharvest management for maize and legume crops to further improve yields and reduce food losses.

Farmers count US$1.5Bn loss in wasted food By Nita Karume


n 2017, a total of US $1.5Bn in food quantities went to waste. In a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), farmers lost earnings in the entire post-harvest processes. This is inclusive of transportation of the produce to the market. The report goes on to compute a total loss of over 1.9 million tonnes of food. Meanwhile, millions of Kenyans were grappling with starvation fuelled by debilitating drought. Maize, was singled out as the hardest hit among the produce, with farmers losing a record US 294m. The crop, which is also Kenya’s staple food was affected in the postharvest stage attributed to including rodents and poor handling. The harvest was also affected by aflatoxin, a toxin produced by fungi due to exposure to moisture. Furthermore, experts have likened the six million bags lost during this period to the amount Kenya gets from the short rains of September to December. Consequently, Kenya was forced to import maize worth US $418m. Tonnes of green bananas were also lost on account of weevil invasion, costing farmers over US $238m in yearly losses. Unfortunately the situation only grew worse, with the food security situation in the country dropping into a 10-year low. Other computed losses as recorded in the 2018 Economic Survey includes US$196m in Irish potatoes, US$123m in milk, US$114m in beans, US $55 in bananas, US$ 34m in sweet potatoes,

US$23m in tomatoes and pineapples, US$18m and US$15m in sorghum and millet respectively. According to a research fellow at Tegemeo Institute, Dr.Timothy Njagi, the problem mainly stems from wastage by consumers who buy more food than they need. This is besides the obvious postharvest losses incurred, which have been estimated to be at 20%. On the other hand, President Kenyatta recently introduced the Big Four agenda. Through this, the state hopes to cut the post-harvest losses to 15% by 2022. Furthermore, according to media reports, the president is currently considering to introduce a waiver on costly cereal drying equipment, hematic bags, grain cocoons/silos, and feed. Dr. Njagi also said that the government is planning to transform the Strategic Food Reserve. This, he said, is through the promotion of investments in post-harvest handling through public private partnerships. He further added that the government will also look into contracting farmers as well as other commercial off-takers. This has also stated by the National Treasury in the

Budget Policy Statement for 2018. Aquculture, another casualty of post-harvest losses, has also been roped into the Government’s development agenda. As such, the government is looking to establish commercialized feedlots for fish and offering incentives for post-harvest technologies. Some of the losses, for example in grains, has been attributed to the methods used during harvesting. Dr. Njagi said that the log and thrash harvesting technique only acts as a huge disadvantage to the farmers. This is because the grains tend to be rejected in the market as a result of impurities. As a result, the farmers end up incurring huge losses. He further added that these farmers should be provided with optimum storage facilities for their produce. This will prevent panic selling among the farmers and in turn help them manage their produce sales. Other preventable measures include proper storage and transportation on the part of farmers. This, according to Dr. Njagi, should be addressed by the government in a bid not only to avoid losses, but also to mitigate said wastage.



Energy solutions for solar agricultural pumps x


esearch has it that nine out of ten African families depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Unfortunately only two among these utilize irrigation, since the rest rely on increasingly unreliable rainfall. On the other hand, switching to irrigated agriculture has been proven to increase yields by up to 90%. This is in comparison with farms that rely on rainfall. However, high diesel costs continues to make irrigation an unaffordable expense for many smallholder farmers. Unfortunately a very small

Solar energy is one of the easiest ways for farmers to produce energy. Furthermore, the use of solar energy in agriculture is becoming increasingly popular in Africa. number of Africans have access to the main grid. As such, electric water pumps ceases to be a viable option for the 620 million Africans without connection. Solar energy is one of the easiest ways for farmers to produce energy. Furthermore, the use of solar energy in agriculture is becoming increasingly popular in Africa. What’s

more, the energy produce could very well be used to provide the farmers with additional income. Arid regions in Africa are some of the places where irrigation is used. As such, these areas count as the biggest beneficiaries of solar energy. On the other hand, irrigation requires energy. Currently, diesel and electric pumps stand as the dominant technology offerings. Similarly, gridconnected pumps that rely on electricity are also plagued with the challenge of outages. The farmers thus end up los-


ing what could otherwise be disposable income. Nonetheless, solar pumps also don’t come cheap. A one horsepower solar pump goes for approximately US $3,000. This makes it unaffordable for most small, marginal rural farmers with a couple of acres or less. Making it work Starting with the pump, the amount of solar power needed depends on the specific water table depth of a farm. That is, the further the water is from the ground, the more power would be needed to pump that water up for

irrigation. This, in turn, is highly dependent on the geography of a particular region. On the other hand, since water for irrigation is only needed during certain hours of the day, using the solar pump could be a way to better utilize the solar panels. Furthermore, the solar panels for a solar pump could also be viewed as assets that generate electricity to be used by people in their homes. The pumps used for the transport of the water have solar cells. These then absorb solar energy and converts it into electrical energy. This is done through generator which then feeds an electric motor driving the pump. Most of the traditional pump systems mainly work with a diesel engine or with the local power grid. However, these two modes of operations present disadvantages compared to solar pumps.

Diesel pumps are slightly more efficient than AC powered pumps as they allow greater flexibility. However, one of the main constraints is that this system relies on the fuel availability. Moreover, inasmuch as diesel-driven pumps may be cheaper than solar-powered pumps, operating costs are quite high and are heavily

dependent on the diesel price. Conversely, the solar-powered systems is relatively expensive. However, the source of energy is free; since after there are no operating costs after the pay off period. This makes the latter a worthwhile long-term investment. Access to water for agricultural purposes remains

critical in some areas such as in arid regions of Africa. Many African farmers fetch the water directly from the well or the rivers and irrigate their fields using buckets. As such, access to a motorized pump could very well their yield tremendously.



Bulk packaging for Agricultural produce By Nita Karume


gricultural packaging is vital to the food industry. This is because the packaging prevents unnecessary food spillage as well as keeping pests and toxins at bay. Furthermore, since we live in a health conscious society that demands to know where the food comes from, packaging becomes a critical issue that should not be by passed. However, some packages are not able to hold up very well, leaving the produce susceptible to pests and weather elements. It is for this reason that bulk bags are the most preferred means of storage for agricultural produce. They are not only affordable but also effective in the transportation of dry produce. Eliminate Unnecessary Waste In most cases, about half of the food is wasted during

the production process. Furthermore, lack of proper and informed postharvest practices as well as storage also contribute to the waste. However, this can be mitigated through the use of bulk packaging, so as to preserve as much food as possible. Reliable packaging is the key to ensure both short and long-term stability between farmers and the public. Pairing up of Produce and Packaging Produce should pair well with the type of packaging used. This will help preserve the quality crop yields, especially in the case of fresh produce. It is good to note that different foods require different types of packaging. Furthermore, there are key features that should be considered in order to use a particular method of packaging. This is because there are

primary concerns that need to meet packaging standards. For instance, ventilation is crucial to the packaging, especially in the case of fresh produce. Also, heat should be able to escape, allowing the produce to cool quickly. That fresh produce water loss should be minimized goes without saying. Safety Matters The packaging should be safe to handle, as the bulk bags hold up to thousands of pounds of dry goods. They are moved by machinery through the use of loops which can be placed in certain locations to facilitate the ease of operation. Furthermore, bulk bags can also be customized to meet the needs of all types of customers and shipments. Types of Packaging Different products require different types of packaging. As such, there are several different types of packaging available. For example case and carton, flexible packaging, and retail ready packaging. The packaging used for bulk shipments must be durable,


reliable, and suitable for the products being transported. This is to avoid cases of huge losses. As a result, flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) are the containers of choice when companies are handling dry goods. Shipment The packaging should be economical. Bulk bags have an advantage as they are customizable to fit the different needs of each type of product under transportation. Features such as customized printing are available for woven polypropylene bulk bags. The printing can include company name and or logo, as well as the contents. This helps in organization of shipments. Choosing the right packaging for your agricultural business’ needs can be a challenge. This is because measurements need to be taken. Moreover, the types of products being transported and stored must be taken into consideration. Wholesale bulk bags come in various sizes and materials.



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las c and Packaging Products is a medium size manufacturing concern with many years of combined experience in the packaging manufacturing industry. The company has been in existence since 1994. Our objec ve is to nurture and build mutually beneficial rela onships with our clients. Plas c and Packaging Products further referred to as “PPP” is based in Wadeville the industrial heart of Ekurhuleni. “PPP” has a vast range of extrusion equipment to manufacture a wide range of plas c. We manufacture low density polyethylene and blown polypropylene plas c. With the above equipment, we are geared to manufacture most of your packaging requirements at compe ve prices. We are a plas c extrusion company who is able to produce produc on runs of shee ng, tubing, and bags, either plain or printed for all types of industries. We have been receiving new business from the farming community, manufacturing packaging plas c bags plain; printed; coloured tubing; shee ng; form fill and seal shee ng. “PPP”, has reconstructed opera ons in order to improve efficiencies and streamline services to our customers around South Africa and Africa. The process involved ge ng a level 2 B-BEE ra ng inves ng in 4 new modern bag makers from a local machine building supplier. “Keeping capital in our country and growing the South African economy. Buying locally helps with machine parts and produc on stoppages” says Paul Dreyer. “PPP” has a highly skilled sales team that can help with any type of plas c bag farmers might need. . Founde We also supply black mulching to farmers for growing tunnels. “PPP” has a large client base of farmers supplying di 94 n 19 them with plas c bag, plas c tubing; pallet wrap; banana blue uv plas c and brand plas c bags. “PPP” employs just over 45 personnel and operates 24/7 producing over 5 300 different bag types. Coloured; printed; plain; and form fill and seal shee ng for dried goods. “PPP”, supplies plas c throughout South Africa and exports into African countries. The company has had rapid growth over the past 7-plus years with addi onal capacity to meet market demand. “Further capacity addi on will be added when required in order to keep up with growth” said Paul.Our manufacturing team approaches each job in our factory with respect and care. We have got a well-oiled quality control system in place. In our company the customer is King. At Plas c and Packaging Products we are looking forward to servicing all farming commodi es with packaging solu ons. ed

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Aquaculture in Kenya By Nita Karume


ish exported from China are due to arrive in the country over the course of the next two weeks. According to media reports, a vessel ferrying 48 containers of fish from the Chinese territory will be docking at the port soon. The vessel will be among 47 other ships also expected in due time. Fish farming in Kenya is fairly recent, dating back to 1910 when European settlers imported trout, black bass and common carp and stocked them in various rivers and lakes for sport fishing. Currently, aquaculture is practiced as part of other farming activities and production is low and erratic. The fish export is seemingly meant not just for local consumption, but also serves a venue through which imports from China can be grown. This is owing to the shortage Kenya is presently experiencing in terms of home grown fish.

Currently, capture fisheries earn fishermen approximately US $69m. On the other hand, fish exports earn the country about US $49m in foreign exchange annually. The shortage, in turn, serves as an advantage of Chinese fish producing firms which have swooped in and are now enjoying the market. Back in 2016, the then ailing Kenyan aquaculture sector got a boost after the country was allowed to export fish produce to the European Union. The deal, under the EU US $14m project dubbed Standard and Market Access Program (SMAP), sought after the sensitization of Kenyan farmers on how to produce fish fit for the international market. Kenya has 13,600 square kilometers of inland lakes and 640 km of coastline. Ninety five percent of the fish land-

ings are from fresh water lakes, 3% from marine sources, and 1 % from aquaculture. Ninety two percent of fish landings from inland lakes are from Lake Victoria, while 6% comes from Lake Turkana. Other lakes and Rivers contribute 2%. The most commonly farmed fish species are Nile tilapia, which accounts for about 75% of production, followed by African catfish which contributes about 21% of aquaculture production. Lack of efficient quality and compromised farm made feeds are currently the biggest challenges facing Kenyan aquaculture. As such, the government has since been forced to initiate efforts to establish national standards for fish feed. Currently, capture fisheries earn fishermen approximately US $69m. On the other hand, fish exports earn the country about US $49m in foreign exchange annually. Unfortunately, Kenya marine waters have not been sufficiently exploited. This


has been mainly attributed to lack of technology. Marine fish of commercial value support the economy and livelihoods of the coastal residents. Unfortunately, inland lakes continue to face several challenges which hamper both commercial and subsistence farming. Some, like Turkana are experiencing a downward spiral on account of over fishing. Lake Victoria, on the other hand, has hyacinth which hampers navigation. Fish have also since migrated or died due to the same. Research conducted on the same indicate that formulated feeds had higher levels of bacterial and fungal contamination. This is in comparison to commercial feeds. The former is thus unsafe because of the mould formation, high moisture, storage facilities, and poor handling and preparation methods. Furthermore, the water from river sources contributes to Zoonotic diseases in fish. This is also implicated in human and animal populations. As such, if left unchecked, the same poses a great risk of a potential outbreak of serious fish diseases in farms that are poorly managed. This also applies to those that use contaminated river water and feeds for fish farming. Some of the floated recommendations include frequent laboratory analysis of water limits. Borehole water is also considered a safer alternative source of water. This is after it was discovered that farms utilizing it have minimal infectious agents. There should also be proper preparation, packaging and storage of formulated and commercial feeds. As such, farm workers should be trained on sourcing feed, raw materials, handling and processing procedure of these raw materials and how to store them.


Store grain adequately or lose profit



tore grain adequately or lose profit. But without engineering experience and expertise, silos are only bent sheet. Engineering is the key when transforming grain terminals into perpetual motion microcosms. According to official estimates, about one third of the grain produced for food purposes is lost during postharvest processes such as storing, drying, cleaning or milling. This corresponds to approximately 1.3 billion tons with a value of 1 trillion US dollars per year, as Deepak Kumar and Prasanta Kalita summarized in their report in the „Foods“ magazine 6 (1) 2017. Inappropriate storage contributes considerable to these losses. In addition, not only grain is lost, but also return on investment diminishes when the scope of investment is short-sighted planned and engineered, neglecting subsequent costs of a plant. “The scope is the project engineering and not the single components”, says Luca Celeghini, CEO of PETKUS Engineering GmbH. “It includes evaluation of the soil conditions and the possible load capacity and thus, issues with regard to foundation; it also includes seismic area evaluation and calculation as well as layout and design optimization. Proper understanding of customer needs leads to choosing the appropriate components and technologies which best fits their requirements.” Therefore, the PETKUS Group has a silo solution claim. “This claim in combination with elaborate customer approaches turn simple technology into charming offers”, says Celeghini. Is a grain terminal more than silos, conveyors and cleaners? Indeed, it is a network of know-how, precision engineering, customized design and high quality technology.


FEATURE A fact that has been clearly recognized by leading food processing companies which take special care on grain quality and food safety. That is one of the reasons, the Spanish silo systems’ manufacturer SIMEZA, a member of the PETKUS Group, has established itself as a reliable partner in the international food processing market. To connect the grain storage division with the commodity grain processing plant is not like a plug and a socket. There is no DIN norm for smooth transfer unless the experience of the engineers know the tricky details. Some companies tend to choose an all-in-onehand provider for their commodity grain processing plant. But both divisions, storage and processing, have different premises. The question is whether you pick the cherries or you pick a cherry and a withered sour cherry – to go for two expert providers or a

one-hand provider? The cherry for silo plants is SIMEZA. The company offers a combination of professional engineering and product quality. Several large international projects in the area of commodity grain processing were done by SIMEZA recently, showing the increasing trust of millers or brewers. BAKEXS MILLERS LTD., a leader in flour milling in East Africa and based in Kenya, expanded its silo plant for wheat in large scale with SIMEZA. Five flat bottom silos with a total storage capacity of app. 18.000 t with a volume of 23.000 m³ and an intake capacity of 80 t/h were built including all necessary accessories. Whereas the storage facility was entirely designed, engineered, delivered and commissioned by SIMEZA, the mill plant itself was done by a large Swiss milling technology company. In addition, LA ZARAGOZANA S.A., a leader for brew-


ery plants in West Europe and based in Spain, has awarded to SIMZA the expansion of a storage silo plant for malt, broken corn and rice in a design of growth which sees qualified supplier for other parts of the plant. Ten galvanized corrugated hopper silos with app. 3.400 t

storage capacity and a volume of 5.000 m³ were built. The complexity of storing different products, loading and unloading logistics as well as preserving and retracing product quality has to be well understood and thus, engineered by the experts.



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Tilting Trade Towards Africa: Becoming The World’s Food Basket


Mimi Kalinda is a respected Tutu Fellow and thought leader on the African narrative. This New York University graduate is also the Director of Communications for the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a network of centres of excellence incubating STEM education for Africa’s brightest students while searching for the next Einstein in Africa.

obal food market. As we celebrate Africa Day and all the continent’s historical accomplishments, let’s also look ahead and determine how best we can up the ante in terms of trade so that Africa does not lose out on the benefits of it. The scales of international trading need to be balanced with the world’s poorest nations, especially Africa, to achieve fairness. Africa has lots to offer the world and it could easily become the world’s food basket and be a force to be reckoned with. But for this to happen trade needs to be favourable and not tilted towards more developed nations with huge export capacity and greater competitiveness. To ensure fairness of trade, Africa needs to

be on the same level. The debate on trade is a contentious one with many arguing that free trade will never exist, and that policies on trade should be in the public interest. Let’s for a moment look at the signing of the recent African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). On 21 March 2018, the CFTA was signed in Rwanda, which was advanced by the African Union in accordance with its 2063 Agenda. It details a long-term development plan to create the largest free trade area in the world. It aims to create a single African market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, by liberalising trade and making it easier for African businesses to trade within Africa. The AU predicted that this


plan would increase the level of intra-African trade by 60% by 2022. It hopes to gradually eliminate tariff barriers between member States to ease doing cross-border business. The agreement, with a predicted cumulative GDP of $2.5 trillion, may look really good on paper but will it in reality be conclusively implemented, completed and monitored? Surely our leaders need to be accountable to the people of Africa for what they sign. They need to explain what the strategy entails, provide an outline of the plan, detail how will it be implemented, clarify who will be monitoring deliverables, and illustrate how output will be measured. Africa has been scarred by politicians who love signing agreements and creating huge publicity for a moment, with Africa’s people

not seeing the results in the long term. Only 10 AU members chose not to sign the CFTA including Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari has been quoted as saying that his administration will not be in a hurry to enter into any agreement that would make the country a dumping ground and jeopardize the security of the nation. In my opinion, these are real considerations one should take into account to determine whether it has merit or not. Last month, writer David Pilling in an opinion piece in the Financial Times said the CFTA could unlock Africa’s potential, even though the principles of free trade were under ideological attack in many parts of the world. “Africa needs free trade for many reasons. The most

important is to remake history,” he said in the article. “Colonialism left Africa in bad shape to develop. It broke the continent into more than 50 pieces, few of which today have the scale to attract sufficient investment or ramp up manufacturing. The whole of Africa has a gross domestic product of about $2.5tn, roughly the same as the UK. Imagine if Britain were broken up into 54 units, each with its own politics, language, regulatory environment and hard border.” He said that even if they tried, many post-colonial African governments were unable to break the basic pattern of trade: ship raw materials out and bring manufactured goods in. Most African economies were stuck as suppliers of basic commodities and missing out on the classic benefits of international trade.

Trading with each other was a way out of that bind, he said. Meanwhile, Debate Wise argues that poorer countries will suffer due to the ‘unfairness’ and ‘expensive’ nature of free trade agreements. It believes poor countries will ultimately abandon free trade agreements, and it would cause more harm than benefits. Africa can continue to rise if the scales of trade were tilted toward poorer nations that have a huge basket, filled with a variety of commodities and goods to offer. It has an abundance in natural resources and mineral reserves, and holds about 98% of the world’s chromium, 90% of the its cobalt and platinum, 70% of the world’s tantalite, 64% of its manganese, 50% of its gold and one-third of its uranium. Guinea is the world’s larg-

est exporter of bauxite and the Democratic Republic of Congo has more than 30% of the world’s diamond reserves. Africa remains the poorest and most underdeveloped continent in the world, despite technological advances and massive efforts over the past two decades to change the status quo. Surely, the time for written agreements that remain unimplemented are over. Now is the time for action.

Africa needs free trade for many reasons. The most important is to remake history.



Access to Safe Surgery and Anesthesia still rare in Africa


Asha Varghese is the Director of the Global Health Portfolio at the GE Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the General Electric Company. She leads Global Health programs focused on cost, quality and access across the developing world. Email - asha. Social media handle - @AshaSVarghese

frica is rising, according to various economic analysts. The rise brings with it an increase in urbanization and a population influx in the continent’s big cities. The streets of Abidjan, Conakry, Kinshasa and Nairobi are bustling with all sorts of activity. Increased investments in agriculture, among other key sectors, has led to more economic activity in the rural areas of Africa. There has never been a more hopeful time in the history of Africa. Multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the African Union have concluded that with such an unprecedented population boom, access to healthcare must be prioritized by policy makers, and most national development plans reflect this need. In 2016, the UN revealed that Africa was now home to 1.2 billion, up from 477 million in 1980. The continent grew by 30 million in 2016 alone and by the year 2050, it was projected that annual increases would exceed 42 million per year. However, access to safe surgery, and particularly anesthesia, is still rare in most parts of the continent. The World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA) has found that wealthy countries, like the U.S. and Germany, have 20 to 30 anesthesiologists for every 100,000 people; but in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, there were often fewer than one for every 100,000 people. This means that when a woman faces complications during child labor, an

elderly person breaks a bone in a car accident or a young man needs surgery for an appendectomy, if there is no anesthesia care provider, the patients usually do not get the surgery they need; exponentially increasing the likelihood of death. The statistics are not reassuring. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that C-sections are an essential treatment for 5-15% of all deliveries. In Kenya, only 3.21% of the rural poor and 2.69% of the urban poor receive C-sections. Proper anesthesia is an important part of being able to provide C-sections. Health facilities in the developing world providing C-sections lack trained anesthesia providers more than they lack surgeons. This gap is not only putting lives at risk in the most vulnerable places on the planet, it also has an economic cost. According to the World Bank, for every dollar invested in anesthesia, countries get $10 back in productivity. ImPACT Africa’s initiatives in Kenya provide a case study of how countries across Africa can begin to scale anesthesia capabilities to avoid loss of life, educate more providers, and facilitate safe surgeries. With the buy-in of policy makers and an enabling environment for the implementation of national and continental healthcare agendas, the program has been able to achieve considerable impact in a relatively short time and build a scalable model that could save millions of lives in Africa. Established in 2014, ImPACT Africa focuses on train-


ing anesthesia providers, developing curriculum informed by current trends and practices, data collection and research, and building the capacity of local trainers to effectively train others in anesthesia. Currently working primarily in Western Kenya, the program targets students, educators and trainers to build capacity. ImPACT Africa trained 108 anesthetists in Kenya by 2017. The program’s graduates now work in 40 of the 47 counties in Kenya, and there has been an important increase of Kenya counties with Registered Nurse Anesthetists (from 34% to approximately 83%). In addition, 41 trainers have been trained to continue educating anesthetist care providers. By reinforcing the capacity of local hospitals in this way, in a country where healthcare is still a major concern for the average person, more patients can rest assured of access to potentially lifesaving anesthesia and care before, during and after surgery. ImPACT Africa also emphasizes quality. Anesthesiology is complex and can be hazardous. If not performed properly, the outcome could be negative for the patient. ImPACT Africa develops curriculum and implements a train the trainer approach, including mobile simulation training, which ensures quality control in the transfer of knowledge that benchmarks itself against international standards. Additionally, the ImPACT program has improved educational quality of anesthetists using simulation training in 2 state-of-theart simulation centers, which

allows students to practice common and uncommon realworld scenarios without fear of harming patients. The model is highly replicable from Kenya to other African countries. A healthy population is generally also a productive one. Africa rising to its full potential is a goal which cannot be attained until the basic human right to health (and by extension, life) is prioritized. Strengthening the continent’s emergency and essential surgical care and anesthesia as a component of universal health coverage is vital for development and growth. ImPACT Africa’s work in Western Kenya, although currently performed at a relatively small scale, is contributing to Kenya Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan (KHSSIP) which is meant to ensure facilities provide emergency surgical and anesthesia care. The model could significantly contribute to meeting the continent’s sustainable development goals. Giving birth in Nairobi or any of Africa’s towns should not be an exercise that causes future mothers anxiety to the point where they fear death or irreparable complications because an anesthesiologist is unavailable. After all, anesthesia should be a human right not a luxury. The lack thereof definitely does not belong in this century.

*This program is funded by GE Foundation with scaling funds from The ELMA Foundation. Partners to the program include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Center for Public Health & Development, Kijabe AIC Hospital, and Assist International.

The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) plan for future agricultural growth


he Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) recently elected a new Board at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on 16 May 2018. Dr Sinare Y Sinare from the Agricultural Council of Tanzania was elected as the new Chairman of the Board and President of SACAU. He replaces Dr Theo De Jager who retired at the Meeting, having served as the President of the organisation for the past 5 years. Mrs Doreen Hlatshwayo from the Swaziland National Agricultural Union was elected Vice President, a position that hitherto had been occupied by Dr Sinare. Mr Alfred Banda of Farmers Union of Malawi

was retained as an Ordinary Director, whilst Mr Phineas Gumede of Agri-SA in South Africa joined the Board as an Ordinary Director. Mr Berean Mukwende of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union stepped down from the Board. Several resolutions were adopted by the AGM. These include the granting of Honorary membership of SACAU to the outgoing Chairman, Dr de Jager and to Mr Salum Shamte from Tanzania who retired from the Board a few years ago. This honour is bestowed to individuals that have made outstanding contributions to the development of the organisation. In the same vein, Honorary membership of Mr Ajay Vashee (Zambia) and Mr Douglas Taylor-Freeme (Zim-

babwe) who are two former Presidents of the organisation was extended for a further period of 5 years. Other resolutions adopted cover the amendments to the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), the appointment of new external auditors, increasing the number of elected Board of Directors from the current four to five, as well as the adoption of key messages that emanated from the Annual Conference which preceded the meeting. Finally, Uniao Nacional de Camponeses of Mozambique will host the 2019 AGM. The AGM is the organisation’s biggest and most important governance event on its annual calendar.



For Africa Day Preserving Africa’s Agricultural Revolution With Innovation As we celebrate Africa Day and commemorate our varied accomplishments, let’s also take a few minutes to appreciate how agriculture has been instrumental in developing the continent, and how innovation is key to preserving it in future.

Fayelle is the cofounder of Suguba, an Innovation Hub operating in several West African countries. Suguba’s vision is to foster a more integrated and empowered West Africa by giving a voice to the youth and escalating entrepreneurship in the region.


e are “standing on the edge of a second green revolution” and smart ideas from our young Einsteins may just be what we need to fulfil Africa’s dream of becoming the world’s food basket and sustaining its economy. Agriculture has been Africa’s bread and butter over the last century and it continues to do so. In addition to creating most of the jobs in Africa, over half the population depend on it for their livelihoods. According to Nepad, the agricultural population in Africa stands at 530 million people and is expected to exceed 580 million by 2020. Africa has 33 million farms of less than 2 hectares, accounting for 80% of all farms, and the agricultural labour force is comprised mostly of women. Although poor, Africa has the largest surface area of uncultivated arable land and is regarded as a major player in the global food market. Nepad’s 2013 paper ‘Agriculture in Africa’ states that agriculture forms a significant portion of all African economies and contributes toward major continental priorities like eradicating poverty and hunger, boosting intra-Africa

trade and investments, rapid industrialization and economic diversification, sustainable resource and environmental management, and creating jobs, human security and shared prosperity. Former African Union chair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Africa would have a population of two billion people by 2050, the majority women and youth. She advised that Africans needed to create wealth and conserve its resources for future generations. The agricultural sector has continued to absorb a large proportion of the working population and will continue doing so. By 2025, it is estimated that 330 million young Africans will have entered the labour market, with limited opportunities for finding jobs in cities. Agriculture in Africa has great potential for increasing growth and sustainable wealth creation. Nepad’s chief executive Ibrahim Assane Mayaki in the paper said farmers were the primary guardians of Africa’s natural heritage and environmental assets, and they should be granted opportunities to preserve and build on those assets. The report found that despite being self-sufficient in


the 1960s, Africa had become a net importer of cereals. But since 2016, it’s core ingredient, maize, had been hit by a fall armyworm infestation. The outbreak in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa added further strain to food security, the impacts of which could be catastrophic for Africa, the poorest and most underdeveloped continent in the world. The fall armyworm has a reputation for destroying maize but also feeds on more than 80 species of plants including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 200 million people depend on maize for food security as it is a staple cereal crop grown by farmers. The pest has already caused more than $13 billion in crop losses. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations revealed that by February 2018, only three out of 54 African States had not reported infestations. The UK Aid stated in a report that the armyworm could potentially cause maize yield losses in a range of 8.3 million to 20.6 million tonnes per annum. With the ongoing risks to food security posed by the fall

armyworm, innovation could be crucial in finding solutions. Fresh approaches that help farmers identify, treat and track instances of the fall armyworm mean that farmers would have a better chance to protect their crops against the invasive fall armyworm. Agriculture Research Council CEO Dr Shadrack Moephuli told delegates at the 3rd Global Food Security conference in Cape Town last year that innovations were crucial in assisting both commercial and smallholder farmers with food losses. “These challenges reinforce the critical role of innovation to make agriculture more competitive and sustainable. Innovation is the new normal in agriculture,” he said. Agriculture is currently standing on the edge of a

second green revolution, according to PwC’s 2016 ‘Africa Agribusiness Insights Survey’. This revolution will entail fundamental shifts in how the agricultural sector utilises and implements innovative technology to improve output in a sustainable manner. “Advances in technology and innovation are the key to the future of agriculture,” said Frans Weilbach, Agribusiness Industry Leader for PwC Africa in the insights report. “Innovative technology and advancements in productivity are becoming increasingly important as pressure mounts… The global population is growing rapidly and the climate is ever-changing. Agribusinesses are making changes to go high-tech. From data-gathering drones to artificial intelligence farming, technology is making

the agricultural sector more precise and efficient.” PwC found that the agricultural sector to be one of the most critical industries for the African continent due to its economic potential, and is projected to become a US$1trillion industry in subSaharan Africa by 2030. Taking a keen interest in the fall armyworm threat in Africa, Nesta, on behalf of Feed the Future, Land O’ Lakes International Development (LOL) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) decided to roll up their sleeves and immediately search for innovative solutions. They held a competition between March and May targeting innovators from around the globe, in search of digital solutions and approaches that could provide timely, context-

specific, actionable information to enable smallholder farmers and those who support them to identify, treat, and track incidence of the pest in Africa. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), together with LOL and FFAR contributed $400,000 in prize awards, and the winners will have a chance to develop their prototypes. It will be interesting to see what kind of innovative ideas come out from this, and whether any of the prototypes can be developed successfully. After all, Africa -- which has the largest surface area of uncultivated arable land -- could also be home to the next Einstein. Let us preserve Africa by containing the fall armyworm threat and safeguarding our green revolution through innovative tools.



Why innovation-driven economies are key for Africa’s development By Nonye Mpho Omotola, a Brand Africa council member and a respected advocate for economic growth through innovation, technology and education


frica needs to grow considerably if we expect to get a seat at the global economic table and become part of the conversation shaping the world. The African Innovation Summit, which takes place from 6-8 June in Kigali, could not have come at a better time because Africa does not want to be left out in the cold. We have brilliant young minds, strategic know-how and an abundance of manpower with research indicating that 60% of our youth are under the age of 30, many with vast technological skills. Despite Africa’s ugly historical circumstances, we have proven to be formidable in competitiveness and business, and scaling towards innovation-driven economies will boost us further. Innovation is key in developing competitive economies in order to generate higher levels of income and profitable returns on investment, as well as increase national growth potential, according to Growth Champions, a group working in the innovation sector collaborating with leading global innovators to find sustainable solutions for growth. The ‘Global Competitive-

ness Report’ by the World Economic Forum analyses many drivers that enable national economies to achieve sustained growth. It states that innovation-driven economies use the most sophisticated processes to compete by producing and delivering new and different products. Deloitte, in a report titled ‘Innovation is the new driver of growth in Africa’ at the WEF in Kigali in 2016 said many African states require structural change for significant economic improvement. The impact of structural change is however only felt in the long term. It reported that given the poor historical trend of resource returns supporting structural change, innovation provides a far greater opportunity to drive more inclusive growth than the traditional resourcebased business models. While the continent may not have large innovation hubs like Silicon Valley, innovation is critical for economic development, and African public institutions need to play a greater role. If Africa had to attain innovation-driven economies, can you imagine what it would look like in 10 to 20 years. We would be able to come up with solutions to address challenges with development,

poverty, health, food security, climate change, governance, productivity, water and so forth. Maybe we can learn and follow China’s footsteps on how to go about reaching our full potential. In the book: “The China Path To Economic Transition And Development”, author Yinxing Hong states that many factors are needed for innovation-driven economies. “We need to adopt knowledge, technology, corporate organizational systems, and business models to reallocate existing tangible factors of production, including capital, labor, and other material resources…. As new knowledge and inventions are introduced, traditional factors of production will be endowed with a higher capacity for innovation. The integration of such innovation and production factors will give rise to an endogenous growth pattern in China,” the book says. So for Africa to reach this development goal, we need to cultivate our ideas and invest in our young Einsteins to mature Africa and catch up to the rest of the world in the technological age. This is what the African Innovation Summit hopes to


achieve. It is harnessing the innovation potential of the continent with the aim of mobilizing people with the ‘power to act’ into a coalition for collective action to promote and build an enabling environment for innovation in Africa. The goal is to engage as many people as possible in order to build a broad constituency in support of innovation in Africa. The basic fact is that Africa cannot outsource its development. The AIS platform includes regular Summits to promote dialogue, facilitate exchange of best practices among stakeholders and African countries, showcase what is happening on the continent, and share lessons of experience. The platform also includes engagements with African researchers and scholars to undertake case studies to tease out lessons of experience in order to facilitate learning by stakeholders. Africa has tonnes to offer and deserves a seat at the global economic table, rightfully so. We could potentially become the world’s food basket due to our high agricultural production and ideal weather. With the right tools, vision and people, we could be a force to be reckoned with when we take our seat at the table.


Artificial intelligence is revolutionising agriculture By Adil El Youssefi, CEO Liquid Telecom Kenya


rtificial intelligence offers the promise of transforming agriculture in ways that could save over 815 million people, or 11% of the world’s population, from hunger: most especially in Africa, where the sector accounts for 32% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. As at now, three-quarters of Africa’s farmers practice traditional farming techniques that deliver low yields, despite agriculture being their main source of livelihood. But, to illustrate the change that is possible, app developers, such as Kenyan botanist and biochemist, Samuel Kamya, are delivering new solutions that could lift the continent’s agricultural output. Kamya’s app, Eska, detects crop diseases and deficiencies in soils of vital nutrients such as phosphorus. The app enables Kenyan farmers to send photos of their crops using a smartphone’s back camera and, instantaneously, diagnosing the health of the crop and any issues with pests or diseases and displays the results on their phone’s screen. This is just one of the many new ways in which software and smartphones are being used to apply artificial intelligence in overcoming pest infestation, attacks by diseases, and nutrient deficiencies, in order to increase farm production. Farmers are also, increasingly, using sensors and soil samples to gather data. This data is then stored in on-farm

management systems that allow for better processing and analysis. AI is now helping with supply chain tracking and market positioning. Typical has been a coffee traceability solution that has been launched in Ethiopia, based on mobile technology, analytics and the Internet of Things. The solution is now tracking as many as five million bags of coffee through all stages of the supply chain, helping firms achieve fair trade and organic certification for their products. The system has been a major boost for the coffee industry in Ethiopia, enabling farmers to better compete in the international coffee market and lifting Ethiopian coffee exports. AI is also set to reduce the high levels of repetitive and physical work that drain resources and that have deterred many in the younger generation from farming in Africa. In this, drones are now being used ever more widely to collect farming data, which has been found to be 93% accurate, yet the drones can collect the same amount of data in 10 minutes that it previously took farmers 8 hours to collect on foot. This data collection is leading directly to higher outputs. Typical is the Aeroview platform developed by South African company Aerobatics, using AI, satellites and drones. The platform uses drone imagery to map regions and individual crop rows of stressed plants,

from which the system’s analytics identify problem areas. The platform is being used by farmers in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa, and recently enabled sugar farmers in South Africa to detect crop problems early enough to prevent up to 20% of crop failures. The possibility that lies ahead is for machines that solve problems through physical interactions within an environment. Although such machines are yet to arrive in African agriculture in a big way, they offer the hope of vastly improved soil management and better coping strategies in the face of droughts. Agriculture in Kenya and other sub-Saharan countries is also faced with multiple challenges in accessing infrastructure and markets, as well as in storage facilities, marketing, and even in access to information that drives better practices and choices of inputs. In this, stakeholders across the public and private sector, including Liquid Telecom, have been providing support to tech start-ups and agricultural organisations to further promote agricultural success. An example is Liquid Telecom’s high-speed connection across Kenya’s agricultural research institute KALRO, which has allowed it to develop and use new applications and software to accelerate research results and deliver information directly to farmers. In this, Kenya’s advancement in technology, high smartphone penetration, and widespread internet access are

laying the framework for rapid progress in agricultural ICT and AI. Progressively, the options to run sensors and IoT devices are expanding with the growth of low power Wide Area Networks which consume much less power than traditional GSM SIM card based communications. The recent partnership by Liquid Telecom Kenya and the Strathmore University Business School to launch a new data analytics centre focused on data-driven research and practices for African businesses adds another precursor to the much greater use of AI in agriculture. The prospect is for early detection of withering crops that automatically triggers irrigation systems, of reduced labour and transport costs as drones, take over and sustain a conducive environment, and additional monitoring of the use of farming chemicals, optimising input costs. In understanding the potential impact of all these technologies, examples are beginning to abound. When Nature Sweet in the US adopted AI to monitor its tomatoes, it increased its harvest by four per cent in the very first harvest. For Africa, artificial intelligence offers the hope of multiple food security solutions and a more productive sector continent-wide.



Highest Number of Entries from Africa Over 80% of the entries came from Africa. The five countries with the highest number of entries were Uganda: 52; Nigeria: 25; USA: 23; Ghana 22; Kenya: 21


esta, on behalf of Feed the Future announced that 228 applications were received, mostly from Africa, for the global Fall Armyworm Tech Prize ( The Prize aims to find digital solutions to identify, track and protect crops from the pest, which has devastated agricultural produce across the

continent. Over 80% of the entries came from Africa. The five countries with the highest number of entries were: Uganda: 52 Nigeria: 25 USA: 23 Ghana 22 Kenya: 21 Bhavik Doshi, Research and Impact Coordinator for Nesta said they were extremely pleased.

“We are thrilled with this result as it’s a tremendous response. We are also pleased that over 80% of the entries came from across Africa. It indicates that the people of Africa want to find solutions to the fall armyworm threat.” The armyworm flies nearly 1,000 miles in just 30 hours and can easily migrate to neighbouring countries. The female moth can lay up to a total of 1,000 eggs in her lifetime, and in its larvae stage, can cause significant damage to crops if not managed appropriately. It has a taste for maize but also feeds on more than 80 species of plants including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. In sub-Saharan Africa, over


200 million people depend on maize for food security as it is a staple cereal crop grown by farmers. The Fall Army Worm (FAW) poses a serious threat to Africa’s food security and although there are solutions, the steps to take are different in each region. So far, the infestation, which started in 2016, has resulted in some containment measures being undertaken, but none are longterm or sustainable. Innovation and technology is believed to be crucial to finding solutions that can help mitigate the risk of decreasing food security in Africa. The value of small innovations means that farmers can start tackling the issue before it’s too late. So far, there has been a

substantial amount of information to sift through. In order to control the spread of the pest, smallholder farmers need improved access to immediate, accurate and actionable information on how to treat and protect their crops. So far, 51 of the 54 African nations have been affected. Given the rate of outbreak, interventions are needed at a transnational level. Information on how to treat the pest needs to be quickly transmitted to farmers and those who advise them. The problem requires digital tools and approaches that source, analyse and translate data for farmers and relevant stakeholders to make timely and accurate decisions to combat the spread of the armyworm. Nesta, on behalf of Feed the Future, USAID, Land O’

Lakes International Development (LOL) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) launched the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize looking for tools that can work in different regions across the African continent. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), together with LOL and FFAR have contributed

$400,000 in prize awards, and the winners will have a chance to develop their prototypes and see immediate feedback from smallholder farmers. Feed the Future works hand in hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the cycle of poverty and hunger. In particular, it hopes to increase agricultural activity, boost

harvests and incomes for rural smallholder farmers, generate opportunities for economic growth and trade in developing countries. USAID’s Digital Inclusion team believes that with advances in digital communications, social networks, satellite imagery, electronic data collection and sharing, sensing technologies, crowdsourcing, and the global movement to share open data, more information than ever can be efficiently communicated and made relevant for farmers. While digital tools are not the only solutions to eradicating the worm, technological solutions can help serve as a force multiplier to an already strained advisory service. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Nesta, on behalf of Feed the Future. +44 (0)1404 890300 00263 712 833687

The UK’s Most Experienced Manufacturer of Materials Drying & Handling Equipment

Cereals & Crops - Grass - Herbs & Spices - Woodchip - Sawdust - Anaerobic Digestate • Continuous Flow Grain Driers & Belt Driers • Chain & Flight Conveyors

• Belt & Bucket Elevators • Aspirator Pre-Cleaners • Augers & Screw Conveyors • Levelling Conveyors • Belt Conveyors • Ducting & Valves

N e dr w! ier Co op s no al fi tio w red n. an

Mr Nathan Douglas from Lions Den Farms, Zimbabwe, said: “Perry use the highest quality materials on their equipment. The technology and touch screen user interface makes it extremely easy to use and monitor, one unique & extremely helpful feature is the ability to link the control panel to the internet to remotely control the drier. I have been pleased with the technical support & training we have received, they have a very personal way of doing business. I highly recommend Perry & its equipment.”



Top UK Built Grain Driers Now Available in Africa 28


ions Den Farms, a large forward-thinking Farm in Zimbabwe, started off as a small 60ha dryland farm in 2011 and has grown in the last 7 years to one of the biggest and most diverse farming operations in the country now operating on 6 different farms. It is a diverse company that is currently cropping a total of 2000ha per year. They have a wide range of crops in order to reduce market risks and improve cash flow. The 2018 cropping program

In November 2017, after visiting the UK, Nathan Douglas from Lions Den Farms made the decision to purchase a Perry S610 continuous mixed flow drier. The drier is rated to dry at 20tph when drying maize from 18% to 13% moisture content using 110 degrees Celsius hot air temperature. It has a total electrical demand of 46kw at is fitted with three fans and two burners which are capable of burning diesel or Kerosene. Perry of Oakley Ltd hosted a very successful open Day at Lions Den on the 10th May and during the days preceding this the drier was drying several days worth of Soya Beans effectively & efficiently. During and after the open day the drier was drying maize from moisture contents as high as 21.5% down to 12.5%. Nathan Douglas from Lions Den Farms is happy to invite people to visit and see the drier at any time. Key features of Savannah series drier. By utilizing the curved conveyors on Perry’s range of equipment it is possible to install the drier system on a simple flat concrete pad, this

reduces the civils cost to the minimum. The PLC control panel is designed and programmed in house by Perry’s engineers and provides the operator with a very easy to use interface to operate the drier. If a permanent internet connection is provided at the drier this will enable both computers and a mobile phone app to connect to the drier to monitor and control the drier remotely. Another key feature of the PLC panel is the crop set up page, this enables the operator to simply select the crop type, the moisture content at the inlet and the moisture content required and the PLC will set the correct drying temperatures, discharge speed and fan speed for the crop.The drier will operate using Diesel, paraffin, gas and, as a new opti on for the African market, the drier can be operated using a coal fired heat source.

Pneumatic shutter discharge ensures the consistent discharge of the grain evenly across the whole surface of the drier. As standard the drier is capable of drying all combinable crops including light crops such as oil seed rape and all seed crops. Perry equipment in Zimbabwe is sold through Agristructures in Harare. All Perry driers sold are fully supported by a spares package held locally which covers most hard to replace parts including the PLC, electrical components, sensors, burner spares, and connecting links, flights, chain and buckets for the handling system. Agristructure’s Engineers will be able to offer servicing and breakdown support and in exceptional circumstances our engineers from the UK are only an overnight flight away.

For more information about Perry of Oakley Ltd.’s range of drying & handling equipment please visit or email or call Perry on 0044 1404 890300 or Agristructures on 00263 712 833687

includes 1000ha Commercial Maize, 250ha Seed Maize, 400ha Commercial Soya Beans, 120ha Seed Soya Beans, 100ha Seed Wheat, 200ha Commercial Potatoes. This agricultural company is at the forefront of introducing and utilizing high tech precision farming equipment to maximise efficiency and yields in order to have a sustainable future in the industry.



Changing the face of the gardening equipment industry By Nita Karume

With the introduction of EGO’s cordless range of battery powered outdoor, lawn and garden tools in the local market, Smith Power, a South African importation and distribution company representing leading global brands in the specialist machinery, turf maintenance and off-road vehicle market, is offering a revolutionary, unique and smarter way to power through gardening and landscaping tasks.


or the first time in generations, the local outdoor power tool market has been transfigured. The innovative EGO Power+ system, a cordless, effortless way to get the better of gardening and landscaping tasks, is now available in South Africa through specialist equipment supplier, Smith Power, follow-

Powered by an industry-leading 56V Arc Lithium battery, the EGO Power+ system delivers petrolmatching power, but without any of the downsides of petrolpowered units.

The innovative EGOPower+system, a cordless effortless way to get the better of gardening and landscaping tasks

ing the signing of an exclusive distribution agreement in December 2017. EGO is a global manufacturing company established in 1993, which has been at the centre of revolutionising the gardening equipment industry. In the single biggest advancement in technology since petrol-powered mowers ar-


rived on the scene over a century ago, fossil fuels are being replaced by cleaner, greener energy of the EGO Power+ system. Powered by an industry-leading 56V Arc Lithium battery, the EGO Power+ system delivers petrol-matching power, but without any of the downsides of petrol-powered units. It’s simpler, cleaner and

quieter, and with less vibration that is more comfortable to use. With lower running and maintenance costs, customers are assured to make greater savings. “We carry a comprehensive range of EGO’s outdoor, lawn and garden tools. These include lawnmowers, domestic string trimmers, brush cutters, as well as a multi tool system which provides a powerhead on which one can attach a host of attachments such as telescopic hedge trimmer and pole prunners, lawn edgers, brush cutters and string trimmers, all driven by a single power unit,” explains Mark Chittenden, General Manager at Smith Power. “We then also have a range of chain saws and hedge trimmers, as well as a full line of blowers, including handheld and back-pack type,” adds Chittenden. Unique battery offering A major talking point for this range is the unique, patented 56V Arc Lithium battery designed to deliver petrolmatching performance. The Arc Lithium battery has an innovative design to maximise battery cooling. Unlike conventional brick-shaped batter-

ies where the cells are packed together, overheat and shut down, the unique Arc design dissipates heat more effectively. “We offer five battery choices at this stage, in the 2.0; 4.0; 5.0; 6.0; and 7.5 amp range,” says Chittenden. The battery design is unique in many ways. Firstly, it can be used in any of the EGO machines, so a single battery can be used across all machine ranges. Secondly, apart from the innovative Arc design that helps prevent overheating, the battery has another clever way to keep cool; each and every cell is surrounded by EGO’s unique Keep Cool™ phase change material that absorbs heat energy and keeps individual cells at their optimum temperature for longer. The Fuel Gauge feature shows the battery’s remaining power level. “There is a battery indicator so that as you work, you can check the display to see how much power is remaining. This makes it easy to gauge when you will need to recharge the battery,” says Chittenden. This is complemented by a Power Management System which prevents over-discharging and extends battery life. “We also offer the most powerful battery range with high voltage of 56 V. Many competitive brands are within the 18 or 36-V range,” says Chittenden, adding that running times vary from 60 minutes on a 2-amp battery using a hedge

EGO Power also has a range of chain saws and hedge trimmers.

trimmer, for example, to 50 minutes on a mower. “The average is 30 minutes per use across all ranges,” he says. Meanwhile, charging times vary from 20 to 70 minutes, depending on the type of charger selected, either Standard or Rapid. The battery’s charging times are a major talking point, bearing in mind that Lithium-ion batteries, on average, take about two hours or more to recharge. The EGO Arc Lithium battery range is good for a 1000 charge cycle. Locally that translates to a good 4-5 year lifespan. Commercially it will depend on the charge cycles. Target markets In terms of target markets, Chittenden says they are widely spread out. “We cater for the garden enthusiast, we cater for the ‘green’ customer and clients who want less noise and vibrations from their tools. These

include golf courses, lodges, hotels, schools, golf estates, eco estates, landscapers and garden services, to mention a few.” One of the key benefits of the EGO range of tools is the lower running costs. The cost of running an EGO Power+ product for a month is around the same as using a 2-stroke product for a day. Another benefit is the easy set up and starting, with no filling up with fuel required, while the product range starts up with the push of a button, rather than the exhausting pull cords on the petrol-powered tools. Unlike large, heavy petrol mowers, the EGO Power+ mower’s fold flat design makes storage and cleaning simple. The range is offered locally with a 2-year warranty on the battery, and a 3-year warranty on the machine itself. “With lower running and maintenance costs, switching to EGO Power+ will lead to long-term savings. Plus, with zero emissions during use, you can do your bit to reduce your impact on the environment too,” concludes Chittenden.

The patented 56V Arc Lithium battery designed to deliver petrol-matching performance.



The Nampo 2018 agricultural trade show was another successful event for HPE Africa. By FRA Team

“Highlights of this year’s event included meeting many new potential customers - largely from the agricultural and construction sectors – as well as re-connecting with friends we see at Nampo each year,” says HPE Africa’s managing director, Alex Ackron. “This show, which is an important event in our calendar, is the ideal forum to showcase the robust range of Hyundai earthmoving equipment.”


n display this year was the new Hyundai R200LC9S 20 Ton class crawler excavator. This machine offers the best in its class in fuel efficiency, improved productivity and reduced maintenance requirements.

Also on display was the Hyundai HL730-9S wheel loader and the R60-9S and R35Z mini-excavators, designed for efficient operation in confined areas. The Hyundai HSL850-7 skid steer loader - used by farmers for various tasks, including moving bales

of hay, the installation of tanks and for cleaning applications was fitted with an SSL auger attachment complete with 400 mm Tungsten drill. A loose MT900 trencher attachment, complete with 200 mm combination chain used for digging trenches, created great interest


from visitors. HPE Africa is the sole distributors in Southern Africa for Hyundai Construction Equipment as well as Soosan hydraulic hammers and McCloskey crushing and screening units.



Maize and sunflower harvest heads W

hereas a sunflower is primarily recognized worldwide for its beauty, it is also an important source of food. Sunflower oil is a valued and healthy vegetable oil and sunflower seeds are enjoyed as a healthy, tasty snack and nutritious ingredient to many foods. It is also considered as an important agricultural crop choice for several countries across the world. Harvesting The sunflower plant is said to be mature for ripening when the back of its head has turned yellow from green. The bracts should also be turning brown in about 30 to 45 days after bloom. At this time, the seed moisture is usually at 35%. Row crop heads are undoubtedly the best choice as they do not necessarily need any modification. Maize

Flexxifinger’s* product development is often based on an idea that has been provided to us by a farmer. Flexxifinger* uses the same patented QDTM technology on all its lifters and harvesting aid attachment, which makes it possible to quickly interchange different lifters and/ or Corn Pans on the same header without the need for removing the guard bolt each time.

heads, on the other hand, need modification through the use of a cutting knife before use with sunflower. As such, the combines used for threshing small grains are adaptable to harvesting sunflower with a variety of header attachments available. Many of these attachments will be operating on a head stripper principle. Furthermore, platform heads can be used without modification. However, they often have a higher amount of seed and head loss as compared to a row head. This shortcoming can be managed by adding pans to the front of the platform. Alternatively, the modification of the reel can also improve its efficiency. It is also important to note that twelve-inch pans are best for 30-inch row spacings; 9-inch better for other row sizes and solid seeding. One


common threshing mistake made by many farmers during harvest is waiting too long to harvest, leaving the seeds out to dry such that they end up shelling out. This results in excessive field losses. When threshing, be sure to have the header platform raised high enough such that it takes in the heads, all the while minimizing stalks as much as possible. By doing this, the head is left nearly intact through the process, but with all developed seed removed. However, grounding the head into small pieces will result in excessive trash in the grain. The air speed should be low so as not to blow the seed. As such, the fan should be set such that just enough air flow is there to keep trash from mixing with the seed. Companies such as Flexxfinger, Nardi-Pegaso, PSM-CS- to

name a few- provide the best sunflower and corn headers across Africa. These, when used guarantee full harvest if used properly. When harvesting, convert a grain/bean draper header with a 3”/7cm cutting system into a corn or sunflower harvesting system – at a fraction of the cost. While Flexxifinger’s* Corn or Sunflower Harvest PansTM require detailed installation for best performance, once the initial installation is complete, using our QDTM technology, the Corn or Sunflower Harvest PansTM can be quickly interchanged when the header is needed in the grain or bean field. The Flexxifinger* Corn or Sunflower Harvest PansTM allow harvesting of all seeding patterns (from solid seeded to about 40” rows) and this makes economical and effective use of your draper header. The Flexxifinger* Corn or Sumnflower Harvest PanTM is complete on most grain headers with a 3”/7cm cutting system. Conditional to the bushels per acre, a Flexxifinger* Product Support Specialist can determine the appropriate spacing of the Corn or

Sunflower Harvest PansTM based of your needs. Troy Mayes, on the Prairie Farm Report, says, “I see there’s very little loss, like there’s no cobs on the ground behind the header. I guess I’m real impressed. I think for what I’m after, it’s going to do the job real fine.” Flexxifinger’s* product development is often based on an idea that has been provided

to us by a farmer. Sometimes it comes up while talking at a trade show, other times the idea strikes while helping on the farm. Regardless of where the idea comes from, one thing remains the same: we are committed to making things that will help farmers. We will continue to provide innovative and creative solutions. Flexxifinger* uses the same patented QDTM technology

on all its lifters and harvesting aid attachment, which makes it possible to quickly interchange different lifters and/ or Corn Pans on the same header without the need for removing the guard bolt each time. Once the installation of the QDTM Quick Detach System is complete, Corn & Sunflower Harvest PansTM can be clicked on and off in just minutes. Ask us about our crop lifters and corn/sunflower pans!

For more information please contact:

Drakensberg Agricultural Services Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal +27 36 488 1644 +27 82 492 3449 Email:

Flexxifinger’s® line of crop lifters along with our corn and sunflower harvest pans will help you get your harvest done!



AFGRI Equipment and John Deere automation data extraordinaire The AFGRI Equipment and John Deere partnership is proud to announce the implementation of JD Link, a near real-time telematics system connecting all makes and models of agricultural machinery in the field with the farmer’s office and mobile devices.


he partnership between AFGRI Equipment and John Deere dates back to 1962, with AFGRI Equipment benefitting from world-class automation equipment, support and services and John Deere benefitting from the extensive AFGRI Equipment dealer network, spanning South Africa, certain African countries, as well as Western Australia. “The AFGRI Equipment dealer network is in fact that largest outside of North America,” explains Tinus Prinsloo, CEO of AFGRI. “The JD Link system, which AFGRI Equipment has already started rolling out to farmers, helps collate telematics and a wide range of data from all ma-

chines. Vital information to prevent downtime as an example, is available at any time to the farmer, and this, in our opinion, will improve efficiencies even further.” “The solution enables customers to keep track of their fleet, monitor work progress, manage logistics, access important machine information, analyse and optimise machine performance, receive alert SMS or email messages, perform remote operator support and automate data exchange.” Prinsloo goes on to explain that this unique system, one of the first of its kind in the market, is invaluable for the future of large-scale commercial farming. “JD Link

offers boundless features and benefits – even the most basic data relayed would consist of equipment-specific metrics such as diesel levels, engine temperature and forward speed. “Second, and probably most exciting, is the efficiency data that becomes available such as hectares completed, average hectares per hour, hitch position and wheel slip. Equipment can even be geofenced and time restricted to alert owners of unauthorised usage.” A third feature is that JD Link acts as a gateway for data to flow to and from machines. Machine critical updates can be carried out over an internet connection or via screen-


sharing to allow technicians access to in-cab screens via an internet link, and fault codes can be pushed to the owner, operator or the dealer as they occur. “What is exciting is that we are now enabling machines and equipment to communicate with one other. This will allow, as examples, machines to adapt guidance tracks to accommodate different working widths of implements,” says Prinsloo. He comments that while this may sound like a sci-fi movie script, it is in fact agriculture in the twenty-first century, where extracting efficiency down to the smallest aspect counts. “AFGRI Equipment has always seen value in investing in precision agriculture. We believe that these technologies enable our producers to make more informed decisions by having the correct information available to them when they need it. We have embarked on this journey to collaborate with producers, thereby ushering in the next age of agricultural information technology, automation, management and ultimately profitability for their operations. JD Link forms an important building block in the total strategy of allowing us to achieve this vision for the future,” indicates a proud Prinsloo. The system can be used across various models and types of equipment, the only limitations being data on certain non-John Deere equipment, and on older and lower spec John Deere tractors. An additional benefit is that systems other than those from John Deere can be added to the platform, with the result being that the farmer or equipment owner stands to benefit tremendously.

Organize Trade Data & Manage Trading Compliance


hether trading on global futures exchanges or over-the-counter markets, trading firms need to organize their trade data to be successful. Managing PnL, Risk, Credit, Margining, and all other functions rely on a complete set of trading data to be successful. K3 has off the shelf connectivity to over 30 global exchanges and brokers. Use K3 to normalize your data across multiple sources as a foundation to corporate capabilities. Feed trade data to a database for simple reporting, a CTRM system, or consume via APIs for building custom software solutions. K3 is a revolution in data integration. Global customers use K3 to manage the complexities of handling very high data payloads where integra-

tion failure is simply NOT an option. K3 is designed for guaranteed delivery. Features have been built into K3 to both streamline the complexity of trading, as well as create a permanent record of everything that has taken place.

Features Query Search any piece of data. Every piece of data, every transformation. that enters K3 is saved. This allows users to instantly see whether data is making it to its destination correctly. K3’s sends an email alert if there are any problems in the flow. Feed manager also allows analysts to trace through every transformation that happens in K3. This allows quick and easy troubleshooting and testing as new data types are entered.

Map Mapping. It is the most miserable job that’s been made entirely easy. There’s always been a greater need to map more than a column in one system to another. Because any two applications are likely to think about data differently, K3 exposes mapping into an intuitive user interface. Whether the user is looking to do simple, complex or path dependent mapping K3 covers all bases in an intuitive dragdrop framework. Not a single line of code is required. Rules If you’ve been there...then you know. There are always tough data cases. Like that old legacy system you inherited in a merger that keeps data in some antiquated format? These can be a real problem. That’s why K3 has a rules manager. Rules manager enables

you to solve complex data problems. K3’s rules engine covers transformation, formulas, and even plug-in custom functions. Need your data to reach out to another application to get some additional meta-data? No problem. Like everything else, rules is entirely built for the non-technical analyst in an intuitive user interface. Trading Compliance for Every Market On the backs of organized trade data, K3 helps you avoid penalties from crossing exchange position limits. Beginning with the major futures exchanges, K3 has the most complete and flexible monitoring engines available. Our global customer base uses K3 to manage exchange limits, upcoming MIFID II regulations, and prospective limits under Dodd-Frank.

K3 has off the shelf connectivity to over 30 global exchanges and brokers. Use K3 to normalize your data across multiple sources as a foundation to corporate capabilities.



Case IH’s new 2000 Series planter makes its first appearance at Nampo 2018 following the successful South African field tests High levels of interest in new planter with Early RiserŽ system for faster germination 38


ase IH has given the new 2000 Series Early Riser® planter its first public showing at Nampo 2018, the four-day agricultural show near Bothaville, following successful pre-launch trials of the machine on four farms in South Africa last year. Case IH also chose Nampo 2018 (May 14-18) to introduce the new AIM Command FLEX® advanced spray technology for the Patriot sprayer range. Both new products were showcased by Case IH and its South African distributor, Northmec, alongside the brand’s full line of agricultural solutions, including combines and tractors.


PRODUCT “The high level of interest in our new 2000 Series planter at Nampo showed this was the perfect place for its launch,” said Daniel Bordabossana, Marketing Manager for Case IH Middle East and Africa. “More than just seeing the new planter, the visitors appreciated the opportunity to hear first-hand how well the machine has performed on the farms here in South Africa, proving its advantages over the competition.” Nampo 2018 attracted more than 700 exhibitors and more than 82,000 visitors from nations throughout the African continent. Organised by Grain South Africa and spread over 24 hectares of Nampo Park, 19 kilometres

north of Bothaville, the annual event is billed as the largest show of agricultural machinery and livestock in the southern hemisphere and this year had the theme ‘technology in agriculture.’

South African farms demonstrate new planter’s precision and productivity As with all Case IH products, the new 2000 Series Early Riser® planter was subjected to rigorous trials

before launch. These included field tests in South Africa, planting 200 hectares at Islardu Boerdery farm in Middelburg, Mpumalanga; 40 hectares at Charfontein farm in Vrede, Free State; 1300 hectares at Cairo Group’s farm in Koppies, Free State; and 400 hectares at the Du Preez Landgoed farm in Northwest Province. The Du Preez Landgoed farm, located between Koster and Lichtenburg, presented particularly tough working conditions. This third-generation family business, run by 49-year-old Andre Du Preez and his sons, farms cattle and grain on 676 hectares of land with irrigation and a further 550 hectares without irrigation. The farm grows potatoes, maize, sorghum, soya beans,

“More than just seeing the new planter, the visitors appreciated the opportunity to hear first-hand how well the machine has performed on the farms here in South Africa, proving its advantages over the competition.” 2000 Series Planters


and dry beans, as well as wheat and dry green peas as winter crops. All this takes place in a challenging climate, where Andre says “rainfall can’t be expected when you need it and every now and then nature throws a curveball. Planting seasons always vary and this can make the preparation for crops difficult. And my sons and I try to do all of the work ourselves everything from the soil preparation to planting, spraying, and harvesting the crop.” Andre acquired his first machine from Case IH, a 2388 combine harvester, in 2004, and is now also familiar with the brand’s Steiger tractors, Axial-Flow® combine harvesters, and sprayers. Andre said: “We know that we can depend on Case IH equipment and customer support, and we’ve seen how the more sophisticated planters have changed farming methods in the last 10 to 20 years.” Even so, Andre and his sons were surprised with the

effectiveness of the new, 16row, 30-inch Early Riser 2150 planter. This is the first planter to factory-integrate industryleading seed placement technologies from Precision Planting® into a system featuring an all-new, rugged row unit. As well as being extremely ac-

Team with Axial Flow and new 2000 Series Early Riser planter

curate, this machine is robust enough to deliver placement across all terrains and can be customized to a range of seed and soil types, fertilizer/chemical application needs, and crop residue management practices. The main benefit of this technology is faster and more

uniform crop emergence, and this was clearly evident in the trials at the four South African farms. Andre confirms: “Our crop germination, with crops ready to grow, was on day six - three days earlier than the competitive planters. That’s an advantage worth having!” Another, practical everyday benefit of the 2000 Series planter is its streamlined design, with the facility to make tool-free crop changes and adjustments. “There are times when we have to work quickly,” said Andre, “and the last thing you need is delays or distractions with machinery. This was true towards the end of last year, when there was late rainfall and we had a very short window of opportunity to utilize the planter. “We pushed the Early Riser 2150 planter to its limits to get all the hectares done. Planting maize, soybeans, sunflowers, and white kidney beans, we were happy to find the planting process was fluid and fast, with no problems or delays. We could reach planting speeds of up to 15kph and with the latest Precision Plant


PRODUCT technology we could adjust the plant population, depth and down-pressure of the pressure wheel. Even when working in a hurry, we could maintain 99 percent singulation, with 99 percent of the seed being placed with exactly the right position, spacing, and depth.”   Case IH also showcased new spray technology and full product range The new AIM Command FLEX® advanced spray technology also made its debut at Nampo 2018. This enables operators of the Patriot selfpropelled sprayer range to deliver consistent, flexible and accurate application, regardless of speed and terrain. The Patriot® 250 Extreme sprayer, introduced to the market at Nampo 2017, was also dis-

played at the show. Case IH additionally displayed at Nampo 2018 its Axial-Flow® 140 Series and 240 Series combines. Both these models - featuring the Axial-Flow single-rotor technology which revolutionised combine harvesting with its simplicity, grain quality, grain savings and crop adaptability - were wrapped in an American flag and attracted a lot of attention. Interested visitors to the Case IH stand included one of South Africa’s most famous sports stars, rugby player Bakkies Botha. Case IH also showcased its wide range of tractors, from the popular, 36 kW JX45T Compact utility tractor all the way up to the mighty 447 kW Steiger 600 and tracked Quadtrac 600.

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FARMERS REVIEW AFRICA is Africa’s premier farming magazine which provides the updates of news and analysis in topical issues of national and international importance in agriculture. It is a publication which links the technology applied in the Agricultural sector to the field experience of professionals of this area. All aspects of the Agricultural cycle, from tilling the land to transporting, fall within the realm on the interest of the journal. The journal, by design, offers advertisers unparalleled exposure to a captive audience.




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Farmers Review Africa May/June 2018 edition