South Africa: The Umzimvubu Local Municipality promotes farmers’ networks at Royal Show
The Agricultural Royal show is hosted as an annual event where agricultural products and tourism are promoted. The Agricultural Royal show took place from 25th May to 03th June 2018 at the Pietermaritzburg Royal show grounds. The Umzimvubu Local Farmers and Small Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) were given opportunity to display and market their products at this show that aims to :
- market the Umzimvubu Local Municipality Agro- tourism and as the preferred Tourism destination.
- ensure that the farmers products and SMME’s are marketed beyond the Umzimvubu Local Municipality boundaries.
- ensure that the farmers networks, share experience with the commercial farmers.
The Umzimvubu Local Municipality participated for the 3rd time at the royal show. Seven farmers were thus given an opportunity to attend the show with their farm products and livestock. The municipality procured two stands and registered for livestock competition to ensure that the both SMME’s and the farmers were marketed. The first stand displayed vegetables, aloe tissue oil, peach jam, business cards and Umzimvubu Local Municipality brochures and second stand displayed craft work and locally designed clothes.
The 305 stand visitors were recorded during the show and captured during through the exhibitors stand visit register.
The small stock farmers were given an opportunity to register and enter for the Royal show competitions with the farmers from countries. The Royal show competitions took place between the 28th and 31st May 2018.The Umzimvubu Local farmers were able to learn and share their experiences with the commercial farmers. The Umzimvubu Local Municipality farmers were also advised by the judges during the Royal show to purchase quality sheep and goat rams in order to improve their livestock.
The livestock farmers were able to market themselves and were able to get the letters of intents from one of the Pietermaritzburg local farmers.
The farmers submitted a letter of appreciation to the Municipal Manager’s office and the Local Economic Development Managers office for being allowed participation in the royal show.
In another town, the Local Economic Development hosted its sixth annual agricultural show from the 22nd to 23rd March 2018 at Royal show Grounds in Mount Frere. The reasons to host the show are based on the improvement of agricultural produce by the farmers whether in the form of livestock or crop production. The other purpose of the show is to give an opportunity to the emerging farmers to showcase the quality of products they have and this results into a favorable trading environment.
The auction was conducted on the 22nd March 2018 at the Madzikane Ka- Zulu show grounds with the purpose of linking the large stock farmers with the markets. It was noted that the local farmers lack markets to sell their livestock which ended with many livestock being over aged, struggling during drought season and end up dying. The auction also assisted the farmers to sell their unproductive livestock (culls). The local farmers were able to sell their livestock during the agricultural show. The overall number of 22 cattle were sold to the auctioneer.
The Local Economic Department identified various challenges facing the local farmers, such challenges resulting in poor quality of agricultural products and a lack of sustainable programs. By hosting the show, the municipality is trying to address the imbalances that are existing within the farmers and promote the networking amongst the farmers.
The show was used as a marketing opportunity for the businesses that are trading with agriculture related products. Acknowledgement certificates were issued to all the exhibitors who participated in the event. About 630 people attended the event whilst 78 entries were recorded during the registration for the agricultural show. The event was declared a success by all those who attended. A comparison of statistics between the fifth and sixth events show a steady rise in the number of exposed products from 447 items to 457. The Agricultural show created an opportunity for the farmers to market the products to the people that attended the event.
The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) veterinary services were rendered at no cost to the farmers coordinated by Dr Sandengu. There was service on wheels organized by veterinary services where several activities and primary animal health care (vaccinations, de-worming and treatments, castration, sterilization, wounds treatment, sprays, carrier guidance and advise on animal health care) was provided by the officials from veterinary services.
SERVICE DELIVERY IMPLICATIONS
- To market the SMMEs, the farmers products and the Umzimvubu Local Municipality as the preferred Agro- Tourism area.
Other parties or stakeholders that were consulted include:
- Local Farmers
- Local crafters
- Department of Rural Development and Agrarian and Reform (Acquired livestock removal permits)
- Ward Councilors including LED Portfolio Head.
- Royal show society.
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