Smaller farmers should not be overlooked in food production, says South African mega farmer, Charl Senekal.
He says although mega-farmers are the main producers of agricultural products and utilise the most recent technology, smaller farmers also play an important role in South African farming.
Senekal is a mega sugar farmer from Mkuzi in KwaZulu-Natal and chairman of Pro-Agri, an association representing former winners of the South African Farmer of the Year Award.
Senekal was the opening speaker at the World Congress for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), underway in South Africa. About 140 agricultural journalists from over 30 countries are attending the congress which consists of symposiums and farm visits in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
Senekal says smaller farmers are willing to learn from commercial farmers since they also have an important task in producing food for the growing world population.
JOURNALISTS SHARING KNOWLEDGE
Agricultural journalists are vital to transfer knowledge about science and technology to farmers, hence the congress’ theme, “Africa, it’s time”.
“There is no better time than now to write about agriculture. Food production is increasingly important, and billions of people must be fed globally. Africa is in a good position to produce food, with 60% of the earth’s unutilised agricultural land available on the continent,” Senekal says.
Kobus Steenekamp, managing director of Monsanto in South Africa, says knowledge about technology is of utmost importance for large, small and even subsistence farmers to enable them to improve agricultural methods. Monsanto is the main sponsor of the congress.
Knowledge allows them to decrease the use if inputs and to farm more sustainable and profitable. He says journalists should continue reporting about science and technology to ensure all farmers have access to information.