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  • 17 May 2023
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This year’s Nation in Conversation’s theme, adapt or die, focuses on issues that revolve around a new kind of mindset to change the status quo in order to survive. This discussion focused on rural rejuvenation and its social impact.

Corné Liebenberg, Marketing Director of Laeveld Agrochem, said that one success story leads to more success stories. “If you feed people today, you will have to feed them tomorrow. We wanted to feed them in a proper way. Not only survive, but thrive! At the end of the day a lot of small bits add up to something big.”

Nick Serfontein from the Sernick Group said that agriculture grew by 15% during Covid 19. “Agriculture contributes 8% to the GDP and employs 890 000 people. You don't have to be Einstein to know that agriculture is one of the most important sections in SA's economy.”

Van Pletzen shared how Kroonstad was running dry in 2016 and how they decided that enough was enough. “We could not only be onlookers anymore.”

Jeremia Mathebula, Vice Chairperson of Grain SA since 2021: “Just go out and do the right thing. Let's not wait. Make sure SA's economy thrives. Nampo has an enormous impact on our country. Agriculture has a huge impact on food security.”

Dr Ruben Richards, Executive Mayor of the Cederberg Municipality added by saying that people should get involved around an issue and not an ideology. “An ideology is just an idea. Find an issue where rich and poor can unite. Watch your ego, because politics is not about yourself, it's about the needs of the residents.”

A summary of panellists’ advice when it comes to rural rejuvenation:

  • Go back to the basics.
  • Give exposure to kids to know the agricultural sector better.
  • Build trust
  • Create hope
  • Ask the right questions and seek help at the right places

Theo Vorster joked by telling the old story: “If it was not for agriculture we would all be sitting here hungry, sober and naked!”

There is no overnight resolution to rural rejuvenation, but it compares to what Mother Teresa once said: “One cannot change the world alone, but one can cast a stone in the water, which has a ripple effect, which leads to change.”

Watch this discussion here if you missed it. Book your seat for upcoming Nation in Conversation sessions here.


Issued by Nation in Conversation: 17 May 2023

Media enquiries:

Elmarie Joynt
Senwes Group Legal Counsel & Group Company Secretary
018 464 7104 or 083 440 1345

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