Technology at the forefront of an agricultural revolution

There was some impressive equipment and technology on show at this year’s NAMPO Harvest Day in Bothaville in the Free State Province of South Africa this year. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Technology at the forefront of an agricultural revolution          

WhyAfrica visited the NAMPO Harvest Day in Bothaville in the Free State in South Africa last month, and judging from the equipment that was on show, the African agricultural sector is undergoing an irreversible technological revolution that will change the industry forever.        

From electric vehicles to smart monitoring drone technology, the NAMPO Harvest Day 2022 was an event that shone a spotlight on modern agriculture.

Regarded as the largest agricultural exhibition of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the highly renowned NAMPO Harvest Day saw thousands of visitors’ flock to the Free State’s Bothaville to gain first-hand insights on the latest advancements in technology, equipment, and tools to benefit the agricultural industry in Africa. The town of Bothaville took advantage of NAMPO, as local businesses and boutiques polished their offerings for the influx of people to the usually ‘quiet’ town.

Due to the global pandemic, the NAMPO Harvest Day took a two-year hiatus between 2020 and 2021.

According to Danise Smit, Sales and Customer Services Director for RS Components, one of the many exhibitors at NAMPO, says that it was great to have face-to-face interactions with the farming community after two years. “So much has changed both in technology and in how farming is done. As a company that is always driving innovation to create a better world, it made sense to showcase our IoT and Food Safety solutions. Farming is becoming smarter, more efficient and more sustainable and it’s really exciting to walk that journey with our customers,” she says.

At this year’s NAMPO Harvest Day RS South Africa showcased several sensing and monitoring products and solutions. RS also displayed several RS Pro Food Safe maintenance products for use in food processing and farming. All RS Pro Food Safe products are registered with the NSF (National Sanitisation Foundation) , an international public health and safety organisation, demonstrating risk reduction compliance. The handling, preparation, processing, and packaging of food products requires machinery with moving parts that encounter foodstuffs. Keeping this equipment clean and lubricated involves the use of non-food chemical products. NSF certification ensures that such products present a significantly lowered risk to health and assist to effectively eliminate the risk of foodstuff contamination when used appropriately.

This year’s event saw the introduction of commercial electric vehicles as well as the evolution of drone technology which can be used for surveying, analysis as well as seed and pesticide dispersion. One of the many farmers at the event said being a maize farmer in South Africa can be very challenging. “The introduction of smart-monitoring technology can help us overcome the many challenges that we face. The drone technology as an example can be used by us maize farmers to monitor fields in real time. We can assess which areas of the fields need more attention than others. It is really great and what’s even better is that these technologies are becoming more accessible and affordable to us as farmers,” he said.

Grain SA, the organisers of the event, received several new applications for exhibition space for the 54th 2022 NAMPO Harvest Day. Dr Pieter Taljaard, CEO of Grain SA said that the Harvest Day provides a much-needed injection into the local economy especially after a two-year hiatus, with many small business owners relying heavily on the income made possible because of this agricultural platform. “Furthermore, the economic importance of NAMPO to the corporate, medium, and small businesses from all over South Africa participating in the show cannot be underestimated,” he said.

Grain SA’s objective is to use NAMPO as a platform to showcase the role of the commercial agriculture sector in South Africa and to highlight the country’s farming industry as a scientific and sophisticated economic sector that is committed to providing the nation with safe and affordable food.

A quick video overview may be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BXdM2tFcOI

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