Grain SA vs Agri SA

Agh nee man! Why the remarks about Agri SA in the latest Grain SA newsletter? Baas Jannie, you might have had very good reasons for saying that Grain SA’s relationship with Agri SA is slipping, but how can you justify going public about it?

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And then to imply that Agri SA is jealous of your organisation…? What an regrettable choice of words!

“We experience a strange wave of animosity towards Grain SA, but we view it as nothing more than jealousy.” That’s what you said.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always felt there’s a slightly juvenile ring to the word ‘jealousy’. It has a lot of synonyms – envy, resentment, suspicion, distrust, covetousness – and I wonder what CEO Jannie really meant. Certainly he also said: “Ons verhouding met Agri SA gaan steeds agteruit.”

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Do you not think it would have been better to keep these sentiments ‘in the family’, so to speak? I know problems exist between the two organisations, but to address the matter in a public newsletter is bad form, as far as I’m concerned.

Such actions have a tendency to backfire. For one thing, never ever forget that the majority of the people you represent are also members of Agri SA.

We do not live in an ideal world. I can understand how conflict can arise in the relationship between two strong organisations. But it’s more important for SA farmers is to present a united front.

Besides, in public isn’t the arena to sort these things out. ‘Sound bites’ can never convey the subtleties of the issues involved, or the big picture, and silly accusations of ‘jealousy’ will get you nowhere.

Let’s try a little harder to make things work.

Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.