KwaZulu-Natal’s Agricultural Union, Kwanalu held its 20th Annual Congress at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg on September 20.
The event was attended by Kwanalu delegates, farmers and agricultural-industry leaders from all over KZN who came together to reflect on the past year and deliberate on the future as an agricultural community.
The theme of Congress, “Harnessing our collective power to be an authoritative force”, was addressed by all speakers of the day and focused on the importance of strategy, change management, leadership and the role farmers and the union play in influencing the economic, legal and social environment in which the agricultural sector must function in order to ensure economic productivity going forward.
Guest speakers included Agri SA President and farmer, Dan Kriek who spoke directly to fellow farmers on the positioning of organised agriculture in the context of current issues affecting farmers including expropriation without compensation.
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He encouraged farmers to communicate as a means of moving the industry forward and to support the structures of organised agriculture. Political commentator and leading South African journalist, Melanie Verwoerd spoke candidly to farmers about the critical role they play in ensuring the stability of the agricultural industry in the context of transformation and correcting the injustices of the past.
She appealed to farmers to remain calm and not to become reactive to rhetoric in the media, advising them instead to be careful with whom they align themselves with, encouraging them to support Kwanalu and Agri SA as a united, organised voice of agriculture.
Strategy, leadership and transformation specialist Dr Mark Manley reminded farmers that significant growth takes place outside one’s comfort zone, and called on farmers to take responsibility for the change that needs to happen in the sector.
President of Kwanalu, Andy Buchan ended preceding saying “Agriculture needs to be resolute upon the principles which underpin our organisation and to exercise leadership in the pursuit of creating an enabling environment for future generations and to always have hope”.