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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

Esteemed Tutu family honorary guests at first intercontinental symposium
2013-10-08

 

08 October 2013
Photo: Karina Turok

The University of the Free State (UFS) will be hosting a visit by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Leah Tutu. The occasion is to launch the Annual Intercontinental Leah Tutu Symposium on rape and violence against women in honour of Mrs Tutu, who has been an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and the sanctity of family life.

The Inaugural Intercontinental Leah Tutu Symposium will take place on:

Thursday 17 October 2013
12:00-14:00
Scaena Theatre


The launch of the Annual Intercontinental Leah Tutu Symposium is organised by Profs Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (who hosts the Dialogue between Science and Society lecture series) and Heidi Hudson (Director of the Centre for Africa Studies). The Inaugural Intercontinental Leah Tutu Symposium will feature gender and policy analyst Nomboniso Gasa as keynote speaker and Sheila Meintjes, Wits University professor with expertise in gender politics, violence and conflict transformation. The event will also feature voices of survivors of rape and sexual violence, including Johannesburg businesswoman and social entrepreneur, Andy Kawa, who is a survivor of rape and started the organisation Enuf is Enuf to campaign for an end to rape and sexual violence.

On Mrs Tutu’s 80th birthday, during the family’s visit to the UFS, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will also be in conversation with the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, at a public event: Celebration of a partnership: Archbishop Tutu pays tribute to his wife, on the topic: Man to Man: The Meaning of Leah in My Life.

Thursday 17 October 2013
16:30-18:00
Centenary Complex


The public event is part of the Dialogue between Science and Society lecture series, in collaboration with Mrs Grace Jansen and the Tutu Legacy Foundation.

Please RSVP to Anja Pienaar at pienaaran@ufs.ac.za or +27(0)51 401 7330 or Jo-Anne Naidoo at naidooja@ufs.ac.za or +27(0)51 401 7160.

Two of their daughters, Rev Mpho Tutu and Dr Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, will accompany Archbishop Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu.

Short Bio of Mrs Leah Tutu

Nomalizo Leah Tutu is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women and the sanctity of family life. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2000 by the National Louis University in Atlanta for her commitment to human rights and support of her husband’s work. She is patron of the Phelophepa Train, a health project that brings medical care to people living in remote areas of South Africa. She is also a patron of the Tshwaranang Centre that provides legal advocacy to end violence against women. With Archbishop Tutu, Mrs Tutu is a patron of the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. She, Archbishop Tutu, and family established the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in 2012.

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