#Nampo2019 was characterised by good weather and 81 345 visitors attending the trade show. As quite a number of grain producers in the interior were holding their breath in anticipation of early frost that could affect crop yields, the relatively warm weather experienced up until Nampo week was welcomed.

Moving on to greener pastures

After the past year’s land reform debates, drought and low grain prices, it was refreshing to experience the joviality and positive attitude of producers at the show. “It is noteworthy that levels of uncertainty is lower than last year. I noticed a solution and growth-driven attitude among producers,” said Jaco Minnaar, chairperson of Grain SA.

The Nation in Conversation forum’s discussion points this year shifted from land reform, to what is required for the agricultural sector and the country’s economy to grow. During the discussions it became evident that the agricultural sector is positive about allowing the plan for economic growth to succeed.

Matters to which government should attend to urgently, include financing for emerging farmers, expanding markets, the profitability of the agri sector, a national crop insurance subsidy, skills development, improvement of infrastructure, and research on especially climate change.

A trade show built on partnerships

On his first ever visit to Nampo Harvest Day, the deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Sfiso Buthelezi, described it as the best-kept secret of the agricultural sector. He said the expo is one that should be experienced by every consumer in South Africa.

He said that in Chile and Argentina – where he had attended similar shows – the country literally comes to a standstill in a bid to support producers. “I cannot understand why this is not the case in South Africa as well,” he added.

A place to trade and meet with friends

The character of Nampo as a trade show is retained throughout, but its human side is undeniable. The strengthening of relationships, partnerships and friendships remains a drawcard. “It is a privilege for Grain SA to create a platform for producers, by producers. It is always a highlight to receive our members, opinion makers, role-players, politicians and even the pioneers of agriculture at the Harvest Day,” said Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA.

According to De Villiers, Nampo offers the agricultural sector a platform for one large strategic planning session every year. “Individual and collective plans for the next year are made here and taken back to farm level. With the greater supply of technology and opportunities available here, Nampo increasingly requires more than a one-day visit. It is remarkable that – like agriculture’s drivers and trendsetters – the executive heads of input suppliers and agribusinesses, and other decision-makers are present on the grounds throughout the week,” said De Villiers.

Economic strain not diminishing business prospects

Dr Dirk Strydom, manager Grain Economy and Marketing at Grain SA, says that the 775 exhibitors were still able do business, despite current economic pressures. Some exhibitors recorded record sales. “According to exhibitors, the visitors to their exhibitions ensured quality enquiries and promising leads, which is worth much more than just mere volume.

“Our aim is not to become bigger, but to continuously offer visitors a top quality experience that will draw them back next year. The size of the grounds and the infrastructure is well distributed and already provides a more peaceful experience that is family friendly and offers something for everyone. Even the landing strip easily handled a record of 376 aeroplanes and 63 helicopters,” said Strydom.

The date for next year’s Nampo Harvest Day is 12–15 May 2020. – Press release