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17 May 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Agribusiness Transformation Programme
At the launch of the programme during Nampo 2019 were, from the leftt: Anton Nicolaisen, Provincial Head: Free State and Northern Cape, Standard Bank; Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS; Mangi Ramabenyane, General Manager, Farmer Support and Development at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Nico Groenewald, Head: Agri-Business at Standard Bank; and Bigboy Kokoma, farmer from Bothaville.


Bigboy Kokoma, a 33-year-old ‘young’ farmer, speaks with confidence and pride about his family farm in the Bothaville district. One hundred and forty-two hectares of land that has been in the Kokoma family since 2005 when his father established the farm. The farm specialises in livestock, mostly Bonsmaras, and vegetables. “I want to set an example to other young farmers and, through this, become an ambassador of inspiration to my generation.”

Bigboy has a Diploma in Financial Management. “Having this qualification is a step closer to understanding the financial management of the farm, but if you want to take the leap to become a commercial farmer, you need greater knowledge and understanding to get you there.”  He is excited to have been selected for the Agribusiness Transformation Programme, because this will bring him closer to his dream of becoming a commercial farmer, to contribute to the economy of South Africa, and it will assist him in taking his family legacy further.

He is one of 25 farmers in the country who was selected to take part in the Agribusiness Transformation Programme. The programme’s main objective is to develop black emerging farmers through structured, accessible, and relevant agricultural and entrepreneurship training in order to become economically viable commercial farmers that will have greater impact in the agricultural sector in the Free State.

Importance of agriculture

Globally, the agricultural sector faces multiple challenges: it has to produce food to feed an exponentially growing world population, with a smaller rural labour force, adopt more energy-efficient and sustainable production methods, manage limited natural resources and climate change, and contribute to socio-economic development. 
 
Agriculture is of fundamental importance, not only on a global scale, but also on the African continent; therefore, we are especially proud of the Agribusiness Transformation Programme that will, in the long run, enable 25 farmers to become productive and well-functioning agri-business contributors that provide solutions for the much-needed challenges in food security, job creation, and the development of agricultural products.
 
Value of strong partnerships

The programme is an initiative of the University of the Free State (UFS), Standard Bank, and the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. They believe that strong partnerships are needed in the development of black emerging farmers, and to drive change in the sector. What makes the partnership successful, is the multiple strengths and expertise that each partner provides.

The UFS has a strong Agricultural Sciences division, with experience in training farmers in formal undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as short courses.  The UFS Centre for Development Support has a solid record of developing entrepreneurs and university’s Innovation Office is at the forefront of technology transfer.

“The UFS is applying its strengths in education, training, innovation and technology transfer to ensure the development of these 25 farmers. We are excited to take the lead in this program and to ultimately contribute to a productive and well-functioning agri-business sector in South Africa. The impact of the programme is wide and the future brings possibilities of developing a model that will be replicated in the rest of South Africa and Africa,” says Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Standard Bank has strong expertise in financing the agricultural sector, stimulating enterprise development and SMMEs, and providing financial services to the public sector.  The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provides services to farmers who have access to land.

Programme launched at Nampo 2019

The programme was fittingly launched at Nampo on 15 May 2019, bringing together leaders in agriculture, business, the media, and influencers in the sector to engage and meet with the 25 farmers. The discussion at the launch again reiterated the importance of this programme and the level of skills transfer this partnership will mobilise.



News Archive

UFS hosts simulation workshop
2012-12-03

Photo: Renè-Jean van der Berg
3 December 2012

The University of the Free State’s School of Nursing, in partnership with the Drexel University’s College of Nursing & Health Profession in Philadelphia in the USA, are hosting a simulation workshop at the Bloemfontein Campus from Monday 26 November – Friday 30 November 2012. The presenters include Prof. Leland Rockstraw, Dr Linda Wilson, Ms Carol Okupniak and Mr John Cornele. These knowledgeable simulation experts run a successful simulation facility for  health-care profession students. Prof. Leland Rockstraw and Dr Linda Wilson have recently published a book on simulation; Ms Carol Okupniak writes a regular column in a journal, Clinical Simulation in Nursing and Mr John Cornele is well known in the USA for presenting exciting workshops on medical moulage. Moulage refers to “medical make-up”

Drexel University has offered this very popular workshop in simulation repeatedly since August 2010 at the Philadelphia Campus. This week’s workshop is the 1st international event and the first simulation training in South Africa. Funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies made it possible for the School of Nursing at the University of the Free State to host the workshop. Participants are educators from different health-care professions from higher educational institutions from most of the provinces in South Africa and from Botswana. The workshop will cover a comprehensive theoretical background of simulation in health professions, best practices and provide an opportunity for hands-on experience in human patient simulation (HPS) and standardized patient (SP). This will be a first for South Africa. Participants will gain insight in learning strategies to promote a clinically safe learning environment and promote adult experiential learning behaviours. 

During this workshop, participants will make use of the new high-fidelity technology in the Authentic Learning facility at the UFS’ School of Nursing.

According to Prof. Yvonne Botma from the UFS School of Nursing, this workshop will equip the health-care profession’s educators with skills to assist their students in linking theory and practice. Simulation will enable students in health care to provide safe patient care with confidence.
 

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