Kudos to Grain SA!

Well done Grain SA! Nampo 2012 was a resounding success. For the first time in years I experienced the geniality and warm-heartedness that so distinguished Nampo in the past.

Nampo lost this spirit and character over the past few years and declined to an event that was run along the lines of a government department. It was so rigidly organised everybody lived in fear of breaking one of the myriad of rules and regulations.

Please don’t misunderstand me – these rules and regulations are what make Nampo one of the global trendsetters. It’s just that some of the officials took things far too seriously. And I’ve been on the receiving end of more than one tongue lashing for parking incorrectly, or committing some other minor transgression.

Glory Hallelujah! There was none of that this year. Even the exhibitors agreed there was a new ambience. Cobus van Coller, Nampo committee chairperson, and the rest of his team went out of their way to make this a pleasant experience for all the visitors, exhibitors and the press corps.

All visitors were treated as valued guests. Good for you, Cobus!

But, ai man, onse liewe Landbou Minister was conspicuously absent. And Grain SA chairperson Louw Steytler may well be right when he calls Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s absence ‘ominous’. How on earth can a South African minister of agriculture fail to attend an event like Nampo, which is known around the world?

Her excuse? Apparently she didn’t receive her invitation from Grain SA because it was sent to the agriculture department and not the ministry of agriculture. If true, this seems like a lame excuse to me. Why wait for an invitation in the first place? This is the place where she and her senior officials needed to be.

Botswana’s assistant minister of agriculture Oreeditse Sola Molebatsi said Nampo proves the SADC region can feed itself. I agree with him.