Laeveld agrochem on climate, cooperation and continental commitment

Chantal Forssman

Africa has millions of smallholder farmers who are collectively responsible for about 80% of the continent’s agricultural output. Following the 24th Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland, experts warned anew that climate change will have far-reaching consequences, particularly on our continent.

Continental dilemma, local crux
To address the impact in a sustainable manner, it is believed cooperation will be crucial – not only between countries and governments, but also with farmers, who are particularly exposed to the potential havoc wreaked by climate change. Due to a lack of financial means to mitigate climate risks and a reliance on government support and extension services, farmers in Africa remain considerably more vulnerable than their counterparts in other parts of the world.

The extent of this vulnerability was brought to the fore some two years ago by an outbreak of the fall army worm which caught both farmers and governments off-guard. A comprehensive harnessing of resources resulted in a variety of intensive management strategies. Contributing factors to the ultimate positive outcome were the active participation of the South African agricultural fraternity and the cooperation between commercial and developing farmers.

Cooperation and transformation, the Laeveld Agrochem way
Working together with farmers and stakeholders across the board in South Africa to ensure food security, is not only familiar territory for agricultural giant Laeveld Agrochem – it is one of their core values.

Says Laeveld Agrochem marketing director, Corné Liebenberg: “We believe it is important to actively and continuously cultivate success in the constantly changing agricultural landscape of South Africa. While this is the case with new innovation and technology requirements, it is equally – if not more – crucial when it comes to sector transformation.”

Cultivating and growing the success of new players, like smallholders or agribusinesses, says Liebenberg, will be a focus for Laeveld Agrochem in 2019. “We will play an increasingly important role in helping farmers to benefit from more than their produce,” he explains. “Our role is to ensure that every individual success story contributes to the bigger picture of food security and the strengthening of the country’s agricultural sector.”

Formula for success
Laeveld Agrochem’s success and future potential are founded in the advanced input of 120 expert agents providing farmers with specialist advice, complemented by a spectrum of products designed to address all possible pest and plague eventualities. Liebenberg points out that Laeveld Agrochem sets great store by the attentive way in which it manufactures the largest variety of top-quality crop protection solutions across an extended range of categories – from adjuvants and soil enrichment products to pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, as well as animal health products.

Smallholders in South Africa and on the continent, says Liebenberg, are desperate for exactly this caliber of expert service and knowledge in their quest to grow better-yielding crops with limited resources and in often harsh and unforgiving conditions. “Producing more with less is an old principle, but still little more than a pipe dream for the majority of smallholder farmers,” he adds.

Despite running at full capacity due to the high and growing demand for its agents, Laeveld Agrochem continues to explore innovative ways of duplicating and transferring knowledge to all stakeholders, a prime example being their popular TV series, titled Nisboere, which provides information and solutions via a unique combination of platforms.

Rhino beetle rescue

News about the variety and efficacy of Laeveld Agrochem’s product range is spreading fast. Recent proof of this, says Liebenberg, is the invitation Laeveld Agrochem received from the government of Guinea in West Africa, requesting assistance in combating the outbreak of the Rhino beetle.

“This plague has destroyed hundreds of hectares, mostly in coco palm plantations – an economically crucial crop for the country,” he explains. “The extent of the damage has been so severe, it has been deemed a national emergency.” Accepting the invitation will not only offer a sustainable solution for the country and its farmers, but also an opportunity for Laeveld Agrochem to showcase its services, expertise and product range.

“At Laeveld Agrochem, we realise that to be successful at the southernmost tip of Africa, we also need a stable, growing and prosperous continent. Therefore, where time and resources allow, we will always have an open hand to assist fellow farmers on the continent,” concludes Liebenberg.