Santam Partners with Organised Agriculture to Deliver Risk and Financial Management Training to Emerging Farmers
Daniel Stevens, Head: Santam Agri
With over a century of experience and more than 50% of the market share in crop insurance, emerging farmers are important to Santam. For this reason, Santam is collaborating with organised agriculture to identify talented farmers in South Africa and provide them with tailor-made training.
Daniel Stevens, Head: Santam Agri, says, “As South Africa’s largest general insurer, we are dedicated to playing a meaningful role in developing emerging farmers in South Africa. This comes from the understanding that the government cannot attend to the entire agricultural value chain without the support of key value-chain players like us.”
Fertilising the future
Finance and production record-keeping have been identified as an area of concern for many emerging farmers. To combat this, Santam partnered with the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JOGEDA) and TWK Agri in Mpumalanga to help train emerging farmers. The training focused on upskilling farmers (17 in Maclear and 25 in Piet Retief) in financial management, farm budgets, financing the business, accounting systems and the accounting cycle, as well as risk, uncertainty and risk management.
Stevens says, “This training is aligned with recent research we conducted aimed at understanding how we could help South African farmers. Through this research, we helped develop the Santam Consumer Financial Education programme that seeks to bridge the gap that exists within the emerging farming community by empowering them with skills they can use to profitably sustain their businesses.”
The training in Maclear took place over two days in June, while the training in Piet Retief took place over two days in July. The farmers trained were largely grain producers, with the farmers in Maclear having a combined 3 367 ha of land available for production. However, only 10% of the land is used for production. The remainder of the training will take place across more provinces over the year.
Planting the right seeds
The success of programmes like these, hinges on more than a purely financial outlay. Time and human capital are also invested for the initiative to truly thrive. To that end, Santam was represented throughout the programme by employees Lunga Njara and Christopher Koyana. Njara engaged organised agriculture and identified talented emerging farmers, while Koyana ensured the training was carried out according to the Consumer Education standards and delivered in the farmer’s mother tongue.
Stevens concludes, “When done effectively, the development of our emerging farmers can help alleviate many of the economic difficulties with which South Africa is struggling. Investing in more efficient and proficient farmers will not only benefit food production but also unemployment.