Bittersweet balance struck on BTA closure

In what could be described as a bittersweet moment for the industry, the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) and the Joseph Baynesfield Estate (JBE) are in the final stage of closing the Baynesfield Trading Academy (BTA). Opened in June 2014, SAPPO, in collaboration with the JBE, managed to successfully reposition the BTA as a centre for practical training. While significant success has been achieved in training a new generation of farmers, the joint venture had to halt operations due to increasing biosecurity concerns.

As part of its strategy to be farmer-centred in its development approach, the BTA was instrumental in giving over 1 000 farmers practical on-farm training in all aspects of pig production and farm management. The BTA attracted candidates from various African countries. In combination with the ongoing mentorship programme and SAPPO’s advisory offering, the management skills of farmers of various sizes were greatly enhanced. Amid the spread of African swine fever (ASF) and given the number of farmers that frequently convened at the BTA for training, the biosecurity risk to the BTA itself and visiting farmers became a material risk factor.

In a new and exciting venture, SAPPO will launch an online training academy. The platform will exhibit the courses that were once offered at the BTA in video format. This will be complemented by on-farm practicals by SAPPO’s business development managers. In recent months, SAPPO has reached thousands of farmers through its educational material on social media and hopes that the academy will provide farmers with the opportunity to upskill and develop themselves even further.

As a service organisation, SAPPO remains committed to continuously adapting to the risks we identify in the value chain and simultaneously finding innovative ways to serve our farmers.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.