The mighty Monsanto was well-known for its informative and popular demonstration days presented in past years on their research and commercial farms in the Eastern and Western maize regions.
But last year Bayer bought the Monsanto giant and it was decided to rotate the farmers’ days this year with congress days. The Eastern congress was recently held at Secunda and, as a trial, proved very successful. For the farmers in the Western region, a congress was organised at NAMPO Park. This drew 350 attendees.
Guest speakers from all over the world were invited to share the latest technological advances and tendencies with the farmers in a packed auditorium, listening to informative lectures and panel discussions.
Marcos Fava Neves is Professor at the Business School of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He discussed precision agriculture. “We can forget about the hectare concept. In future we will farm in terms of the square metre concept”.
Andrew Bennett, Bayer Head: Technical Development for Africa, emphasised that biotechnology was becoming all the more important with the passing of time. He said CRISPR technology, where genes could be taken out of or added to an organism, was presently in the beginning phase but held promise of dramatic changes in the seed industry.
Loren Trimble is head of Bayer’s Africa Pipeline Development and Seed Cultivation. He says more than 40 legislative bodies all over the world has declared glyphosate to be safe.
Cheusi Mutawila, Bayer’s disease specialist for Africa, says farmers should welcome scientists visiting their farms. These specialists identify maize diseases which infiltrate the country so that it can be nipped in the bud.