15 May 2019

South Africa: Nampo Agricultural Show Highlights the Scale and Sophistication of South African Farming


Farming in SA is undergoing a revolution, and not the kind envisioned by the Economic Freedom Fighters and its copycats in the ruling party. Techniques such as precision farming, which uses GPS technology to boost productivity and yields, are widening the already yawning gap between commercial agriculture and the subsistence plots still being tilled in the former homelands and other impoverished rural areas. A trip to industry group Grain SA's annual Nampo agricultural show reveals the sheer scale of what is unfolding in the fields.

One of the first things that strike a visitor to the Nampo grounds, down the maize-lined and potholed R30 from Bothaville, is the size.

The only things that are relatively small are the planes on the runway that some of the farmers use as their mode of transport. A lot of the farmers themselves are in the buffalo league when it comes to size. In the parking lots used by the plebs, the bakkies and SUVs are rhino-sized. And some of the equipment on display at the showgrounds can only be described as elephantine, if not downright Jurassic.

Take, for example, the US-made Case IH harvester. Its tyres rise over 1.7m off the ground, and...

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