Record attendance at Nampo as elections loom

Avocados are also in season, with some exported to attractive markets such as China.

Avocados are also in season, with some exported to attractive markets such as China.

Published May 21, 2024


By Thabile Nkunjana

The largest agricultural event in Africa took place from May 14 to 17, 2024, at Nampo Park in Bothaville. Every year, hundreds of thousands of agricultural role players get together to discuss all things agriculture.

This year, more than 25 500 people attended the event, a new record by numbers. This included Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, representatives from other countries, fertiliser and seed companies, technology developers, agricultural financiers, biotechnology companies, insurance companies, and agricultural retailers.

To a greater extent, businesses are able to demonstrate new advancements in their industry and connect informally with customers and possible partners. Transactions for millions of rand are done on various purchases.

From the perspective of stakeholders, Nampo provides an opportunity to engage informally on issues affecting the industry, ranging from policy to generic topics that sectoral leaders do not typically have time to discuss outside of meetings.

With South Africa approaching its most crucial elections yet, and policy changes surrounding these periods notoriously unpredictable, the gathering presented an opportunity for informal discussions about the current policy space.

With South Africa’s agriculture sector strongly integrated into the global market, the event provided an opportunity to engage international delegates on trade problems. South Africa is a major exporter of agricultural products such citrus, mohair, fruit, wine, and raisins, among others.

The country is also a leader in technology adoption on the African continent having a sophisticated commercial sector. This implies that South Africa serves as a gateway to the continent, displaying prominent global equipment providers such as tractors, combine harvesters, trailers, and other implements for farmers and investors to admire at an intermediate range.

Throughout the event, many participants appeared to be enthusiastic about their activities. The Covid-19 pandemic, the situation in Ukraine, and elevated inputs were among the topics discussed at recent Nampo events.

This year, the drought was a dark cloud that hampered summer crops such as corn, particularly white maize, and various varieties of beans across the country.

As a result, many farmers are concerned about this season’s losses, which the state may have to address in the form of assistance.

Despite this, visitors looked to be enthusiastic about the event and most crucially, farmers expressed optimism about the possibilities beyond the recent drought.

Farmers are busy sowing winter crops like wheat and canola. Local fertiliser prices are much lower than the highs seen in 2022, with some prices down 30%.

Additionally, fuel prices are expected to fall by between 60 and 70 cents per litre in the coming weeks, which is good news for farmers planting and harvesting. The citrus sector, which is one of the largest is currently harvesting and will intensify in the following weeks.

Avocados are also in season, with some exported to attractive markets such as China.

There is a lot to be excited about for agricultural stakeholders; we recently learnt that the sector increased employment in the first quarter despite several concerns, including the country’s economic troubles.

Thabile Nkunjana is a senior economist: trade research unit markets and economic research division at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (Namc).