Three key challenges facing South Africa’s agricultural landscape — ownership, skills and demand for produce — will be addressed by a diverse panel of Christ-centered experts at the third Bridge Building Land Summit in Paarl on October 24.
The event is a sequel to the first summit which was held in Johannesburg in February, hosted by New Nation Movement and Amos Agrimin; and a second summit in Middelburg in the Karoo in June.
The organisers of this month’s summit believe the solution to the trilemma facing the agricultural industry depends on the formation of real relationships and practical projects that promote skills development, encourage new commercial farming ventures and address land reform in an equitable manner.
The organising committee’s Jan Oosthuizen, who is also a member of Harvester Church and Prosphero Consulting, says the Bridge Building Land Summit places value on face-to-face interaction, especially among commercial farmers, emerging and small-scale farmers, agricultural students, all agricultural businesses (finance, training, processing, import/export) and stakeholders in agricultural development and sustainability.
According to Oosthuizen, the first summit succeeded in starting a network and think tank of people who continue to grow in relationship with one another, while the second event was aimed at reaching out to agricultural students and facilitating the placement of students for internships on farms via the organisation, Future Farmers. The previous events have resulted in the development of 14 models of Christ-centred value-based land reform.
“The 3rd summit will seek an economic outcome – learning from companies and businesses that have embraced enterprise development and inclusive business models where they’ve given black farmers land or formed partnerships to promote land reform, etc. and seeing if we can establish further projects of a similar nature,” he says.
He says that the summit will have robust, live discussion, live data polling and facilitated expert and specialist debate, an element of keynote speaking and facilitated workshops to build projects.
Specific questions and problems will be explored in respect of each of the challenges. “In terms of skills, these include identifying the skills needed to succeed in agriculture, the biggest skills shortages in establishing successful farming ventures, the role of social capital and organised agriculture and explaining mentorship in a farming context.
“With demand, the focus will be on identifying the retail and wholesale linkages that are in most need of repair and new funding mechanisms that are available, analysing whether land reform simply adds to the complexity of the value chain and whether food production should take preference in land reform given the growing population, as well as highlighting best practice for farming venture and how do I access it?
“With regard to ownership, we will discuss the complexities of deeds and title transfers, the main qualitative and quantitative incentives to get involved in land reform, the possible emotional response to the argument of entitlement vs responsibility and how we deal with it, understanding what productivity looks like in land reform and the structures and vehicles most fit for use in new farming ventures,” Oosthuizen states.
The panel and speakers at the upcoming summit will include Chief Economist at Agbiz, Wandile Sihlobo. Lands Claims Judge Dr Wallace Mgoqi, Vito Rugani from Greenway Farms, MD at Six33 Investments Pieter Wasserval, entrepreneur and farmer, Ollie Le Roux, Nokubonga Ndima from Future Farmers, Annelize Crosby from Legal and Policy Agri SA, GM Food services Shoprite Checkers Lance Van Der Spuy, CEO of Hortfin Michael Brinkhuis and many more.
It will take place from 9am until 7pm on Thursday October 24. To register for the summit, visit the website www.landsummit.co.za.