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Be the change you want in the world

  • 16 May 2024
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When different parties take hands and focus on a problem there will be a story to tell. The panellists, representing Senwes, John Deere, Engen, Nedbank and Bayer, shared a few stories on how they are making a difference in communities.

Stephan Gouws (John Deere) said that companies need to start linking to have a bigger impact. There is a gap, but also a big opportunity. “We started something small a year ago at Nampo with Vrystaat Landboukollege. We gave them only one tractor and one planter, and it made a huge difference to them. In the Eastern Cape we partnered with Senwes and started educating two brothers. What grew from this, is really impressive.”

Francois Strydom (Senwes) emphasised that we should have hope. “If you don't have hope, stay in bed. We need to become better than yesterday. Make a distinction between the driver of the problem and the consequence of the problem. Over the last three days we made payments to farmers’ unions of more than R500 000 via the AgriRewards+ platform where producers nominate a farmers’ union as beneficiary. We started with this initiative because farmers’ unions know best where the need in their communities are.” Hoopstad Agricultural Association and Holfontein-Saaibult study group received cheques of respectively R155 337,83 and R143 560,62 today.

Desry Lesele (Nedbank) shared how they form partnerships with organisations like PALS to give communities hope and purpose through this. “Our Green Agri Premium programme educates and mentors 20 learners. Impact, however, must be sustainable. We not only finance, but also partner with someone to walk the road with him to make it possible for him to serve the purpose he wants to.”

Adnaan Emeran (Engen) told how Engen have a passion for the youth and their development, and how they try to fill the gap in education, especially Mathematics, Science and English. Kobus Meintjes (Bayer) compared support to the community with brushing your teeth. “You don't do the right thing to tell everyone about it. You do it because it's the right thing to do. Rural areas need to be strong for farmers to do well. Farmers need to be profitable for us to be sustainable. We help to make it possible.”

This year’s sessions were summarised with a proverb that highlights the collaboration of the different stakeholders in agriculture: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

Watch these discussions here if you missed it.


Issued by Nation in Conversation: 16 May 2024

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