Transformation and knowledge transfer – African Farming

Auction houses play an important role in the livestock sector, linking farmers to one another and to their markets. They provide a reliable market pricing tool, and superb networking systems overseen by socially skilled auctioneers and agents who will go the extra mile for their clients, big or small and black or white. 

The success of transformation in agriculture is not confined to the appropriation of land for black farmers but is heavily dependent on the transfer of knowledge and experience, says Allan Sinclair, auctioneer and managing director of Vleissentraal Bloemfontein. 

“It’s critical that knowledge is transferred. There is a gap that can only be filled by mentorship and collaboration between the older more experienced farmers and young upcoming farmers,” he explains. 

South African farmers are said to be among the best in the world – a significant advantage thanks to the generational transfer of knowledge. Children who grow up in farming families absorb relevant knowledge and gain experience from a young age. Many successful black farmers have testified to this, describing childhood experiences of agriculture as drivers that led them to pursuing farming as a career.

Sinclair believes auctions provide a golden opportunity for farmers to mingle with other farmers and role players in the livestock sector. “At every sale day you can meet and interact with people who have enormous knowledge and experience,” he says.

New-era farmers may feel intimidated by the thought of taking their animals to a sale, but nowhere else is the spirit of transformation quite as obvious as at a livestock auction. It is well known that farmers like nothing better than talking about farming, and auctions present an ideal platform for such engagement. 

“Emerging farmers should use sale days and farmers’ days to ask questions, to talk to other farmers and get information. Everyone wants to make transformation work and to help other farmers to become profitable and sustainable,” says Sinclair. “What we need is enthusiastic involvement, a willingness to share knowledge and to accept advice and help. If we can do this, we will transform profitably, sustainably and successfully.” 

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