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John Deere highlights significance of technology to future farmers’

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Peritum Agricultural Institute’s 2020 seventh Diploma Programme in Bloemfontein, Jacques Taylor, Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa said, “artificial intelligence (AI) holds the key to the continent’s food security as well as broader economic inclusion in Africa and social development.”

Today, agricultural technology offered Africa’s farmers, “a direct route to improved yields. Technology also offered the insight to profitably integrate the continents’ agricultural sector into global agricultural value chains,” added Taylor.

Peritum Agri Institute is a leading centre of agricultural expertise. Peritum provides tomorrow’s agricultural professionals with a skills-focused qualification equipping them for life-long learning and continual innovation in an increasingly dynamic local and global agricultural sector (https://www.peritumagri.com/about-us/ )

Welcoming the class of 2020 and other guests, Belinda Louw, Director of Peritum, reported a 120% increase in enrolment over the last year alone. This attested to, “the growing interest of the country’s youth in agriculture - as well as the increasing importance of food security locally and globally,” she added.

The ceremony was attended by approximately 250 guests including students, their families and other agriculture role players. The Red Meat Producers Organisation and Senwes Equipment also attended. The gathering was addressed by; Corine Steyn, Company Secretary of the National Red Meat Producers Organisation, Ferdie Pieterse, Managing Executive, Mechanisation at Senwes Equipment, Professor Izak Groenewald, Peritum Agriculture Institute College Chairperson, as well as the internationally acclaimed Wil Bekkering, Director of Aeres University in the Netherlands.

During the ceremony John Deere announced that the top five achievers on the Plant Production Diploma will be offered an all-expenses-paid John Deere induction following the completion of their Diploma programme in 2021. The John Deere induction includes:

-          a visit to the John Deere Regional offices, experiencing the history and brand of John Deere first hand while also being exposed to the company’s international operations,

-          a visit to the John Deere Training Centre, learning about John Deere Products and Solutions,

-          a visit to the John Deere Parts Warehouse and a John Deere Dealership.

John Deere will also provide the Diploma programme’s Overall Top Achiever access to John Deere equipment or finance through, either; the provision of a six month equipment demo package suitable to the needs of the Top Achievers farm, or a structured discount with financing options as required. John Deere and Senwes Equipment also provide sponsored agricultural equipment to the Peritum Agri Institute Campus in Bloemfontein enabling practical experience and learning on the National Diploma in Plant and Animal Production. Finally, for every 25 students that enrols for the Diploma, John Deere may award a fully paid bursary to one sponsored student.

Today, the ability of agricultural equipment to think, predict and even advise farmers presents Africa with an historic opportunity to achieve food security. Artificial Intelligence also presented Africa’s farmers with the ability to leverage broader agricultural value chains - enhancing predictability, reducing costs, increasing yields and maximising profits and investment.

In short, technology holds the key to building a broader, much more integrated and far more inclusive agricultural value chain. “The combination of skills-based education and technology would equip Africa to assume its rightful role as global agricultural giant,” concluded Taylor.


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