NAMPO Harvest Day 2024: Optimal Yields Through Digitisation

NAMPO Harvest Day 2024 spotlights technology, digitisation in particular, as an enabler of productivity in the agricultural sector. 

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Since its inception, the NAMPO Harvest Day has grown in leaps and bounds, evolving into the standard bearer of agricultural innovation on a one-stop platform in South Africa.

The theme

NAMPO Harvest Day 2024 has raised the bar, as the selection of the theme of ‘Agriculture in the Digital Age’ underscores. The theme couldn’t have been more perfect. It has been deliberately selected to coincide with the time when grain producers are grappling with a myriad of challenges, including climate change, rising input costs, and supply chain constraints due to geopolitical factors beyond their control.

Exciting time 

In an event preview, Dr Dirk Strydom, Head of NAMPO, Marketing & Research Coordination, deems the 2024 event ‘an exciting time for local grain producers”. Through an interview, he informs Farmers Review Africa about the theme’s relevance and the abundance of networking opportunities.

The relevance

The theme of “Agriculture in the digital age” is commensurate with current priorities in grain production, the agricultural sector generally, explains Dr Strydom. “With margins within the agricultural spectrum under pressure, without subsidies or similar support measures, it is important to ensure efficiencies are as high as possible. The digital environment plays a pivotal role in increasing efficiencies and limiting risks,” he says, spelling out that it is about recognising the significance of connectivity in driving efficiency, sustainability, and prosperity in farming practices. Grain SA is mindful that the convenience of digital tools and platforms can open up opportunities for farmers to enhance productivity, optimise resource utilisation, and improve livelihoods.

There are several areas farmers can leverage opportunities technology presents. Specifically, Strydom mentions the following need avenues: Quicker research, Quicker data/answers, Managing risks; Better production processes; and Precision, which entails increasing every percentage that can be increased.

Already, technology, digitisation, in particular, is gaining traction in farming. Precisely, Dr Strydom cites precision agriculture as an area where this is prominent. “Precision agriculture is playing an enormous role in this time frame variable rate application. It enables applying the right resource at the right time in the right position. Obtaining the optimal yield means the combination of costs and yields providing the highest profits on a sustainable basis,” he expounds.

A network of new opportunities

Regarding the 2024 event, Grain SA affirms to stakeholders that it is a notch higher, tailored for the contemporary needs of producers. Esteeming grain producers as problem solvers, the 2024, as in previous events, NAMPO provides a one-stop platform where a network with service providers can be facilitated to obtain new opportunities. They can access information and interact, with services and products on offer related to production, machinery, food-processing, inputs, precision agriculture and financial solutions. Besides, NAMPO is a platform for service providers to showcase their innovative ideas.

More goodies in store

With anticipation, Dr Strydom promises stakeholders in the agricultural sector that there will be more goodies at the 2024 event. In readiness for the event, there have been infrastructure upgrades in the park, with a whole new hall to host additional indoor exhibitors. On schedule, there are innovative exhibitions.

NAMPO 2024, the 56th presentation of the Harvest Day from 14 – 17 May 2024 is geared to showcase the newest trends and developments on offer!

Increasing access to technology
Whereas the growth is impressive, there is yet more ground to be covered. Even though various technologies are available, the main constraint farmers face is cost. More often than not, farmers have to justify whether or not the technology will offer a return on investment (ROI).
To address this situation, Dr. Strydom says Grain SA has introduced several initiatives to increase access to technology. The most prominent of them is the Data Intensive Farmer Management research project in collaboration with various partners such as BFAP and the Protein Research Foundation and several Universities abroad and local. The Data Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) project is a multi-disciplinary research funded by various partners. Since 2019, the programme has assisted five producers in planting and processing data from 21 maize trials and 14 soybean trials throughout the northern production regions. Since 2023, two producers in the Western Cape with wheat and canola trials were added to the collaboration.

By Ndlovu N