On their way towards greatness: Senwes helps emerging farmers

  • 07 March 2017
  • 5423
  •  Senwes
  •  landboudienste

Agronomist and key account manager at Senwes, Julias Ramohlabi, explains that there are different phases that emerging farmers go through during the programme.
Firstly there are ad hoc-farmers, emerging farmers who are currently in the Intensive Support Programme, and those who have graduated.
But let’s start at the beginning. What should the profile of the emerging farmer look like to actually be considered? What are the criteria?
The criteria that emerging farmers must comply with are:
  1. Firstly the emerging farmer must farm on a full-time basis with cash crops.
  2. They must have business acumen.
  3. In addition they must also have the necessary documents such as lease agreements, title deeds, etc.
  4. It will also be beneficial if they have some sort of mechanisation equipment on the farm.
Before they are accepted into the program, resource evaluation must be done
Resource evaluation, like soil classification, is done to determine the potential of soil on the farm, namely high, medium or marginal. It is followed by recommendations such as whether lime should be added, the type of crop the farmer should plant and cultivation practices, namely whether they should consider ploughing or ripping.
What are the main benefits of this support programme from Senwes?
The farmers can get access to financial assistance through Senwes Credit. In addition they can also obtain technical advice through mentoring and a market is created for their product.
Basically a One-stop Shop
Julias is quite adamant that emerging farmers regard Senwes as their 24/7 One-stop Shop. There are a lot of benefits in being part of the programme, such as training and being exposed to a number of other segments in the world of agriculture. Senwes also enlightens them about Safex, trading, putting them in contact with grain procurers, etc.
“Most of the time we start from scratch with the emerging farmers.” And who better to take them through the steps than Julias. Julias has 10 years' experience at Senwes. He started in 2007 as a junior agronomist, progressed to the position of agronomist and in 2016 he was promoted to key account manager, which means that he manages the total portfolio of emerging farmers.
5-year mentorship program
Julias explain that the farmers in the Intensive Support Programme go through intensive mentoring. He adds that he visits them at least once a week on their farms, even more often if needed. After the 5-year mentorship programme they graduate and receive a Certificate of Recognition.
Currently there are a few farmers in the programme, such as Herbert Mabuza and Wesley Monyatsi, to name just a few, on whom we focused in previous editions of Senwes Scenario. These emerging farmers are spread around the Senwes area with a few in Vereeniging, Randfontein and Ventersdorp. Julias reiterates that the farmers already in this programme have land of between 125 hectares and 600 hectares each.
Ad hoc-farmers
If farmers are not in the intensive phase, they form part of the so-called ad hoc-farmers. Julias says that this group of emerging farmers is bigger than the group of farmers in the Intensive Support Programme. These farmers generally have less than 100 hectares of land. We visit them and provide support on a continuous basis, usually en route to farmers who are in the intensive phase.
Farmers who have graduated
Farmers who have received the Certificate of Recognition are those who have moved beyond the intensive phase. They are now more independent and farm on their own, but with Senwes still on call.
Why emerging farmers are supported
The short answer is because emerging farmers have a lack of experience. That is why Senwes provides comprehensive support to them.
 “All this support costs the emerging farmers nothing, Senwes incurs all the cost,” says Julias. He adds that GFDA (Grain Farmer Development Association) also supports them as they pay for soil correction and insurance.
We need them
Julias reiterates that this is a necessary process as “We must grow the book through our development programme. We need to develop the emerging farmers because we need them.”
For more information about this programme contact Julias Ramohlabi at 083 314 7579 or 018 464 7156 or e-mail him at [email protected].

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