SAPPO’s business development unit enables pig producers to be economically viable through transferring industry intelligence, training, and skills development. This function is delivered through various methods, of which the farmers’ days have been gaining popularity over the years.
A farmers’ day is an ancient event within the agricultural community, where a group of farmers sharing a common goal come together. The purpose of these days is to share information among farmers and to provide a networking opportunity between producers and industry role players.
Over the course of the year, SAPPO organised eight farmers days throughout the country. These days focused on various topics, including practical approaches to common diseases and the causes and management of lameness. A special focus was also on stock theft and the Animal Identification Act (6 of 2002) and related legislations. As part of continuous awareness, African swine fever (ASF) was also a key topic of discussion.
Presentations are delivered by well-informed speakers representing disciples such as veterinary science, veterinary public health, nutrition, reproduction, and law enforcement.
The success of these events is evident in the impressive attendance, with each day averaging up to 120 attendees. The audience comprises individuals within the pig industry, with smallholder pig farmers being the dominant group. Although these farmers may have smaller operations, they supply both the formal and informal markets. The events also attracts personnel such as government agricultural advisors, animal health technicians, private technical advisors, and anyone else interested in pig farming.
As these events continue to gain popularity due to the quality of content presented, some of the farmers have raised concerns of not being able to access the events due to distance. SAPPO faces the challenge of securing a central and economically viable venue for all farmers. To address this issue, farmers in areas not dominated by pig farming are reached through smaller study groups, where similar knowledge is shared.
Farmers’ days also serve as an opportunity for farmers to connect with suppliers of various inputs and services within the pig industry. This, in turn, offers an opportunity for input suppliers to penetrate the developing and smallholder market sector. To cater for this market, input suppliers have begun supplying products in small quantities at these events and the large number of attendees has led to an increase in participation of input suppliers.
A special word of gratitude and appreciation is extended to the SAPPO business development team for their dedication and professionalism in ensuring that these events become not just a success but remain meaningful to the farmers. We remain grateful to all the presenters for finding time in their busy schedules to share their insightful knowledge and contribute to the transfer of industry knowledge and intelligence. To the input suppliers, thank you for travelling this road with us and ensuring that your services and products reach the farmers to improve production on the farm. Your dedication does not go unnoticed.
A heartfelt acknowledgment goes to all the farmers for your interest and for entrusting SAPPO as your medium. These special days would not have been possible without your attendance.
As we approach the end of the year, the Business Development team wishes you all a fruitful and productive festive season. Ensure that your pigs always have access to enough water. Remember, African swine fever is deadly, so protect your pigs by practicing good biosecurity.