Why agents should attend farmers’ days

Most good market agents make sure they attend as many farmers’ days as possible.

Not only does this reinforce their existing relationships with their clients, it exposes them to the latest developments within the sector. Then, of course, there’s the traditional braai and socialising at the end of the day!

I recently attended the Oos Vrystaat Aartappeldag (OVA) held near Warden, and was impressed by the turnout, with market agents from as far afield as Cape Town well represented. Of course, this is how it should be, since potatoes are the single largest crop sold on the markets.

Despite this, Potatoes SA (PSA) says the percentage of the total crop passing through markets is diminishing annually. I’m not going to list the reasons for this today, but it does underline the importance of market agents attending events such as the OVA. Johan van Zyl, potato farmer and Eastern Free State director of the PSA, chaired the event. And only five speakers participated, with each held to a tight time limit by Johan.

The speakers were André du Toit from Bayer, Lizel Pretorius from the Agricultural Produce Agents Council, Theo Botha from the Fresh Produce Exchange, Pieter van Zyl from PSA and Johan himself. All gave us valuable and interesting information without dragging on for ages. That’s how it should be – short and to the point.

After listening to the speakers, we all drove out to Johan’s farm to see a selection of cultivar- and production-related trials. This is always useful, as it helps bring farmers up to speed with new developments in the industry. It’s also useful for market agents for the same reason.

Although the day started at 9am we never felt rushed. Everything took place as planned, which meant everyone could fully benefit from what was offered – be it information or sustenance. There are many farmers’ days held throughout the year – some small, others large. It’s not the size that matters, but the value that’s offered and a number of them are in the same superior category as the Oos Vrystaat Aartappeldag.

Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.