Growth through good stakeholder relationships – African Farming

The world’s population depends on farmers for food supply and food security. Farmers must grow to meet demand and to stay profitable, but they must grow sustainably, with an eye on the environment. “To be sustainable, profit counts and we work towards increasing profitability,” says Kyle Middleton of the farm African Joy near Jacobsdal in the Free State. 

Praveen Dwarika of Lemang Agricultural Services says agribusinesses can really help farmers who want to expand their operations. They are staffed by people who have a wealth of experience and years of training and know what it takes to succeed in farming.

Continuous learning is a priority for farmers who want to grow. As Dwarika puts it, “training is crucial for growth”. He points out that growth in one form or another is the aim of any business, because nobody wants to stagnate. However, Dwarika cautions against growth that is too rapid. “Growth should happen in a sustainable way. You don’t want to have a sudden jump in the size of the business, as this could lead to serious financial challenges down the road and unravelling at an operational level.” 

Growth brings benefits to farmers and their staff alike, and Middleton says job creation is part of African Joy’s expansion vision. “There is personal reward in this. I’m looking after my family and I’m creating jobs in South Africa,” he says.

Steady organic growth favours family farms and small-scale operations. Collaboration between farmers and their agribusiness partners is an essential part of this process. Dwarika says Lemang Agricultural Services helps new-era commercial and small-scale farmers expand their businesses by broadening their knowledge horizons through training and development programmes, mentorship and improved access to markets. 

“Farmers need to build strong trust relationships with all their stakeholders and use these relationships to help them grow their businesses,” says Dwarika. He advises farmers to keep knocking on doors and looking for answers. “You will find the support you need for growth.” 

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