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OVERVIEW of South Africa’s agricultural output. The Free State has 32 000km² of cultivated land and a further 87 000km² of grazing land and natural veld. A summer-rainfall region with a mean annual rainfall of 532mm, the Free State’s climate, soil types and topography vary greatly within the province, with plains in the west and mountains in the east. The western and southern areas are semi-desert, with some Karoo vegetation occurring in the south. The province supplies significant proportions of the nation’s sorghum (53%), sunflowers (45%), potatoes (33%), groundnuts (32%), dry beans (26%), wool (24%) and almost all of its cherries (90%). Red meat and dairy are other important products. Game hunting is a growing sector, and several large Free State farms have been converted from stock to game farms. Crop production represents about two-thirds of the province’s gross agricultural income. The main crops are maize and wheat. Sunflowers, sunflower seeds, sorghum and soybeans are other major crops. The Mangaung Fresh Produce Market plays a vital role in the sector, catering as it does to householders, bulk buyers, informal traders, agents and farmers. Glen Agricultural Training Institute is a public institution of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Institute, which caters to students in the higher and further education bands, is on the Modder River and offers threeyear diploma courses. A further training centre offers courses to farmers and farm workers. The curriculum of the higher education band consists of two electives in crop and animal production. These electives are supported by compulsory subjects in the field of engineering, economics, pasture science and extension. The curriculum of the further education band consists of short courses and learnership programmes.

Aiming for sustainability

Managing Director of VKB, Koos Janse van Rensburg.

VKB originated in a wish to create a sustainable agricultural company and a sustainable future for producers. This is still the golden thread that weaves the strategies of the company together. This is why VKB relies wholeheartedly on the support of people who have chosen the most noble profession to make a difference in our country and in the world. The VKB Group’s primary objective is to exploit the complete value chain of agricultural production in South Africa for the benefit of shareholders. VKB wants to economically obtain their inputs, goods, services and financing on behalf of its producers by optimally utilising their collective volumes. This allows producers to focus on their farming activities. The VKB Group also wants to add additional value to the agricultural products produced in its service area, thereby ensuring that the producer derives maximum benefit from the food value chain and obtains a share in it.

ONLINE RESOURCES Agricultural Research Council: www.arc.agri.za Bothaville: www.bothaville.info Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: www.ard.fs.gov.za Grain SA: www.grainsa.co.za



Profile for Global Africa Network

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