Harvesting the yield of an acquired vision

When I started as the chief executive officer of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO), I had little sense of the structure of the industry, the complexity of the challenges, or the stakeholders involved. The vision that came into existence was a result of thought-provoking discussions and input from stakeholders across the value chain. Moreover, it was further moulded by external challenges such as the listeria outbreak and the growing threat of African swine fever. The impact of decaying service delivery further led to the realisation that the scope of SAPPO’s effort needs to scale.

From the outset, and with the support of SAPPO’s board members, significant investments were committed to the development of the World of Pork. What started off as a few Excel spreadsheets on farmers’ whereabouts is now the backbone of SAPPO’s internal operations as well as industry interventions. The shift towards a model for development to serve a larger audience of farmers with a team of business development officers has led to higher impact and success. The establishment of Monyetla as a fund that can be further developed also contributed to the success we have experienced. The strategic shift in marketing towards partnerships with magazines and the innovative digital campaign conducted with farmers have further expanded SAPPO’s influence.

Central to SAPPO’s value proposition is Pork 360. As a standard of production, I believe that it will be central to the future viability of the pig industry. It has proven itself to be an irreplaceable part of the industry’s ability to manage risk collectively across the value chain. In combination with the World of Pork Animal Movement app and the work done on sustainability practices that are already embedded in it, it will continue to serve the industry as a mechanism to drive positive behaviour.

Today, SAPPO has a dynamic team that is well positioned to serve the evolving needs of the industry. The organisational systems and industry relationships will continue to serve as the basis for scalable industry interventions. As an industry, we have evolved into a highly integrated and concentrated structure. The determining success factor running through the existence of SAPPO as an organisation and the operational continuity of farmers is the belief that scale and size will exempt us from the growing industry risks. We need to consciously align ourselves with the inherent independency embedded in the agricultural ecosystem and the critical role that organised agriculture will increasingly play in enabling a shared and sustainable future.

The spirit of innovation and adaptation that is weaved into the fibre of pig farmers has had a lasting impact on me, and I believe that it will remain the defining character of SAPPO’s future success. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve the pork industry over the past six years. Many lasting relationships were made, and meaningful conversations and laughter have filled my SAPPO journey with joyful, happy, and sometimes emotional memories. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this beautiful journey. To Him, the honour and glory for carrying us through difficult times and granting us great success. May you go well!