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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

Top class musicians appointed for UFS Odeion String Quartet
2008-01-29

 
The three new members of the Odeion String Quartet are, from the left: Jeanne-Louise Moolman (alto violinist), Denise Sutton (leader and first violinist), and Sharon de Kock (second violinist).
Photo: Lacea Loader
 

Top class musicians appointed for UFS Odeion String Quartet

The University of the Free State (UFS) has recently appointed three top class musicians for the Odeion String Quartet. The quartet, which was formed in 1991, is the only resident quartet at a South African university.

The new persons who were appointed are: Denise Sutton, first violinist and leader of the string quartet, Jeanne-Louise Moolman, alto violinist, and Sharon de Kock, second violinist. The post of cellist was recently advertised and applications can be submitted at the UFS until 29 February 2008.

The new appointments follow after three former members of the quartet retired or left Bloemfontein at more or less the same time. Michael Haller, longtime cellist of the quartet, will also be retiring at the end of 2008.

These developments means that the Odeion String Quartet will literary be brand new. It also implies that opportunities exist for learners and students to be taught by excellent new lecturers. The new players will also strengthen the Free State Symphony Orchestra to a large extent.

“The Odeion String Quartet is a flagship of the UFS and it symbolises our commitment to the arts. It also plays an important strategic role in the development of symphony orchestra music and classical music training in the Free State. This is why a real attempt was made to obtain top class musicians. We are pleased that such a strong group could be appointed,” said Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS and chairperson of the String Quartet’s management committee.
Most string quartets abroad are affiliated with a higher education institution, which enables a higher level of playing as there is more time for preparation and to study the repertoire. “We appreciate the university’s confidence in us and for the opportunity to explore the intricacies of ensemble playing. We hope that we can produce inspiring performances for our audiences and students,” said Denis Sutton, new leader of the string quartet.

Denise Sutton studied at the University of Stellenbosch (US) and obtained the degree B.Mus. with distinction. After this, she studied in Amsterdam with Theo Olof and Nap de Klijn, as well as in London. She was leader and second violinist in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and did a successful audition for the English Chamber Orchestra. In South Africa she had a long career as concert master and leader of symphony orchestras. From 1980 she was concert master of the TRUK Orchestra for almost twenty years and from 2000 until 2005 she was member of the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa (COSA). She was also a founding member and leader of the Rosamunde String Quartet, one of the leading string quartets in the country. Denise had a very successful parttime teaching practice at the University of Pretoria (UP) and at a number of schools. She was also involved in postgraduate training. Her students include various competition winners and a number of them are playing professionally.

Jeanne-Louise Moolman studied at the UP under Prof. Alan Solomon where she obtained the B.Mus and B.Mus.Hons. degrees with distinction. She won among others the ATKV Forté and the Oude Meesters competitions and in 1985 she was the first winner of the prestigious 75th Commemorative Prize of the University of Natal. She has about twenty years experience as head alto violinist of various professional orchestras in Gauteng. Until her appointment at the UFS she was leader of the alt violinists in the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and COSA. She is an experienced chamber musician who regularly performs in various combinations with some of South Africa’s leading musicians. This includes Gerard Korsten, Phillipe Graffin, Jürgen Schwietering, the pianists Lamar Crowson and Albie van Schalkwyk, as well as clarinet player Robert Pickup. Jeanne-Louise was also a founding member of the Rosamunde String Quartet. She lectured on a part time basis at the UP and the Pro Arte Music School.

Sharon de Kock obtained the degrees B.A. Mus. and M.Mus. at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) of the University of Cincinnati in the United States of America (USA) in 2002 and 2004 respectively. Some of her teachers include the well-known concert violinist Chee-Yun Kim, Prof. Kurt Sassmannshaus and Piotr Milewski, all alumni of Julliard. From 2004 to 2006 she was violinist lecturer at two universities and a music conservatorium in Puebla, Mexico. She was also violin lecturer at a music school in Costa Rica and was associated with the Hugo Lambrechts Centre in Cape Town since 2007. Her orchestra participation includes among others the Opera Orchestra in Trujillo, Peru, the Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica in Costa Rica, as well as the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. She also participated in the Luca Music Festival in Italy, the Grandin Music Festival in Portugal, the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Aspen Music Festival in the USA. Sharon performed regularly abroad as soloist and received various awards. This includes among others the CCM chamber music competition 2003 and the Baur Orchestral Competition and Heermann competition winner for violin at the CCM in 1995. In 1990 she won the first prize in the Sanlam competition.

The first official performance of the “new” Odeion String Quartet will be in May this year in Bloemfontein. Hopefully the new cellist will be appointed by this time. Members of the quartet will however perform on Friday, 1 February 2008 together with Albie van Schalkwyk and guest cellist Marian Lewin at 19:30 in the Odeion, as well as in the upcoming Spanish Music Festival held in February and March 2008. In May 2008 the quartet will participate in Zimbabwe in the Bulawayo Festival.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
29 January 2008
 

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