CEO’s Letter – Compliments of the New Year to the SACAU family!

ishmael-sunga

SACAU CEO, Ishmael Sunga

I ought to take this opportunity to wish you all a positive start to the year, with a promising outlook and even better health!

In farming, if you do one thing late, you will be late in all your work.  So here at the Secretariat, we have hit the ground running. I kicked off my year with the World Economic Forum’s 47th annual meeting on “Responsive and Responsible Leadership” in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.  As the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities which shape global, regional and industry agendas, the WEF provided a great opportunity to give agriculture the global attention it deserves.

SACAU was also represented at the 6th AGCO Africa Summit in Berlin, Germany, where myself and president Theo de Jager were enthralled by the innovative approaches shared to further the development of the agricultural sector. Organised under the theme Organising Farmers of the Future, the summit brought together new thinking on our issues.

Leaders in our sector are now talking wealth for smallholder farmers and this is incredibly promising. Our farmers are in for an exciting future and, personally, I can’t wait to see these changes and be part of this process. In this month’s newsletter, we are looking at the concerning state of the poultry sector in South Africa. Here major producers are battling to compete with the influx of imports which has resulted in producers having to lay off workers. As always, this is distressing.

The weather forecast for the region is not encouraging either, with the region’s temperatures said to have increased by 2°C — twice the global temperature average.

Despite this worrying outlook, we are hopeful that 2017 will restore the optimism that many of our farmers have struggled to maintain over the tough past two years.

In our drive to establish an “agriagency”, we have been preparing for our final organisational assessment with Agriterra which is due to take place from 6th -10th February 2017 at the Secretariat. We look forward to welcoming the Agriterra team, which will gain an in-depth understanding of practices, systems and performance of SACAU and the services we are providing to our members.

Lastly, just a heads up- we will be having our 2017 Annual conference & AGM here in South Africa in the fourth week of May, so stay tuned for further information in the coming months as we get ready to upskill for the future! We have a full 2017 programme lined up and we look forward to working with farmers throughout the region on a better future for all.