Above: Living Land crew in action. Photo (and the one below) used courtesy of Helen Gordon, WWF SA

Introduction

How does one place a value on communication? It is probably the most important aspect of life. To teach and to learn. To tell another how you feel. With these we make a living and a life.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming inter-actions between people and economies worldwide. In an ever increasing global economy, ICT enables us to access and to store information, as well as to communicate instantly. Media – be it radio, magazines, television – forms part of ICT.

This article is a modest attempt to look at the agricultural media and ICT available in this country (and beyond).

Nancy Richards (SAfm) interviews Inge Kotze, senior manager of WWF SA’s Sustainable Agriculture.

Apps

See the “Digital agriculture” page.

The Southern African Grain Laboratory

Books and Journals

Find the “Websites and publications” heading on the different pages of Agribook.Digital. Many books and journals are listed there in their relevant sectors.

 

Books

Finance and Farmers, now in its sixth edition, goes a long way in helping you to manage your risks more effectively. To order a copy, phone 011 721 9089 or email SBSA.Agricultural [at] standardbank.co.za.

Kejafa Knowledge Works is a publisher and distributor of agricultural books. Visit www.kejafa.com. Numerous other role players like Agriconnect and Media 24 (Landbouweekblad) stock some publications as well.

Provincial departments of agriculture also stock publications and reports. Take a look at the “Publications” option at www.kzndard.gov.za for example. Contact details for the provinces can be found on the “Agriculture in the Provinces” page.

 

Journals

Find the South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, published annually by the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE), at www.ajol.info (African Journals Online). Find other journals of interest here e.g. African Crop Science Journal, African Journal of Food and Nutritional Security, and African Journal of Range and Forage Science.

Find the journals at www.tandfonline.com, Taylor & Francis online.

Cell phones

In low-income areas and countries across sub-Saharan Africa, cell phones often are the first development in telecommunications infrastructure. More people have access to cell phones than to electricity, piped water and health clinics. In South Africa, 92.1% of the population owns a cell phone (SA News, 2023).

In addition to the advantages of mobility and instant access to market information (e.g. SAFEX prices) and mobile money transfers, technology allows you to open/close gates from your cell phone, to begin/end irrigation and more. There are also the security advantages: you can reach loved ones and trace their whereabouts through the location of their phone.

The Internet can be accessed through cell phones, and valuable information stored on their phones. Accordingly, an app exists from AVG which allows you to lock your phone and even wipe out data in the case of its going missing.

DVDs

  • African Land-Use Training supply DVDs to assist you. These include Successful meat goat production, Successful chicken production, Successful pig production and Successful hydroponic production. See www.alut.co.za.
  • Dicla Training and Projects supplies agricultural DVDs. See www.diclaprojectsandtraining.com
  • Kejafa Knowledge Works is a distributor of agricultural DVDs (and books). Visit www.kejafa.com.

 

The Internet

See the “Digital agriculture” page.

The percentage of surveyed households without Internet access during the Census in 2022 had shrunk to 21.1% (MyBroadBand, 2023).

Important websites for farmers include those with production information, websites of bodies that represent them (organised agriculture and industry associations), media, weather and markets. Examples include:

Find Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics at www.internetworldstats.com.

Leaflets and booklets (for newcomers)

Leaflets and booklets are available from the Departments of Agriculture (both national and provincial). To view some of these, visit www.dalrrd.gov.za or the Provincial Departments of Agriculture websites like www.kzndard.gov.za and www.elsenburg.com (find details on the “Agriculture in the Provinces” page).

Libraries and Agricultural Museums

Institutions of learning offering agricultural degrees/diplomas have libraries, as do the different Agricultural Research Council Institutes. Departments of Agriculture – be they provincial or national – have libraries.

The contact details for the National Library of South Africa is can be found at www.nlsa.ac.za.

A further source of agricultural information are museums. We have listed three of them here:

There are also agricultural museums in Bloemfontein and Lichtenburg.

Magazines

 

Weekly – General

 

Monthly – General

 

Commodity

Several commodity-specific magazines are published on a regular basis. Some examples are SA Graan/Grain, Pluimvee/Poultry Bulletin, Dairy Mail, PORCUS, AFMA Matrix, Winelands, South African Sugar Journal, SA Studbreeder/Stoetteler, Veeplaas etc. These are mentioned in the relevant pages of this website.

 

Government and Agricultural Unions

  • The national Department of Agriculture and some provincial Departments of Agriculture put out their own publication.
  • Agri SA and the TAU SA also have regular newsletters. Find these on their websites, www.agrisa.co.za and www.tlu.co.za.

 

Banks and Agribusiness

  • Banks involved in agricultural finance (see “Providers of financial services” article) put out publications covering agricultural topics. Find information and previous copies on the bank websites.
  • The Agribusinesses also have their own publications e.g. Afgriland.

 

Development-sector specific

  • An example is Pula Imvula www.grainsa.co.za (available in English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Tswana, Zulu and Xhosa)

Radio

Read about Farm Radio International under the “Some international role players” heading.

  • Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) informs listeners to agricultural developments in Afrikaans. Visit www.rsg.co.za and www.agriorbit.com/category/broadcast/rsg-landbou for more information.
  • Radio Elsenburg on RSG (Radio Sonder Grense) broadcasts nationwide: 100 – 104FM. Listen on Fridays at 04h30 and 12h30; and Saturdays at 11h45.
  • Listen to Radio Pretoria on weekdays at 5h35 for agricultural news. For enquiries, visit www.pretoriafm.co.za.
  • Grain SA runs agricultural programmes for emerging farmers. Take the “Farmer Development” option at www.grainsa.co.za for more information.
  • Find Landbou Radio at www.facebook.com/Landbou-Radio-1427754207460748/
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development broadcasts technical agricultural information on eleven radio stations, reaching some seven to eight million listeners every week. For information about province-specific agricultural radio shows, contact your provincial Department of Agriculture.

Satellites

See the “Digital agriculture” page.

Social media

  • The active involvement of farmers on social media platforms is a positive measure to create understanding and appreciation in the population towards farmers. Tweeting photos of triumphs and challenges enables society to understand and share in what farmers face.
  • Social media is also a source of knowledge. Farmers post information on what has worked for them.

Software

See the “Digital agriculture” page.

Television

  • AgriTV is a TV programme focusing on rural development and issues related to or impacting on rural development in South Africa in the broadest sense. See https://agri-tv.co.za.
  • Living Land is aimed “at developing the emerging farmer by addressing questions on land reform and farming”. It screens every Saturday morning at 5h30 on SABC 2. See https://no-line.co.za/ and www.facebook.com/Official.LivingLand/.
  • Working Land airs on SABC 1 on Thursdays at 16:30.
  • Landbousake is an Afrikaans language programme focusing on commercial agriculture. The programme is screened on the Afrikaans pay TV channel kykNET. Read more at www.ontbytsake.co.za/Pages/Rubrieke/Landbousake.
  • Plaas TV is at 08h00 on Thursdays. See www.youtube.com/c/PlaasTVFarmTV.
  • Meer as Grond appears at 18:00 every Wednesday on DSTV channel 147.
  • African Farming is on Thursdays at 18:30 on Mzansi Wethu (DStv channel 163)
  • Landbouweekliks is on DSTV channel 147 on Tuesdays at 19h30.
  • Watch Plaaspraatjies on Mytv. Read more at www.mytv.co.za.
  • The annual Nation in Conversation agri-talkshow during Nampo (see “Agricultural shows and events”), www.nasieingesprek.co.za.

Watches

Some watches can serve as a companion for cell phone and tablets, incorporating many of the cellphone functions e.g. receiving and making calls, accessing internet, video camera, voice recorder etc.

Some international role players

  • Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) is “designed to enhance the scholarship of the many thousands of students, faculty and researchers in agriculture and life sciences in the developing world” – https://agora.research4life.org.
  • AgNews, a look at USA and international developments, www.agweb.com
  • AGRICOLA (Agriculture Online Access), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Library: visit http://agricola.nal.usda.gov.
  • The UN’s Food and Agriculture (FAO) has an international information system, listing world literature dealing with all aspects of agriculture. It is called AGRIS and can be accessed at http://agris.fao.org. A related programme is Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS) which can be accessed from the AGRIS web pages. See also e-Agriculture, “a global community facilitating dialogue and sharing resources on the use of ICTs for sustainable agriculture and rural development”, www.fao.org/e-agriculture/.
  • Farm Radio International “supports broadcasters in developing countries to strengthen small-scale farming and rural communities”. For more information, visit https://farmradio.org.
  • International Federation of Agricultural Journalists www.ifaj.org

General ICT:

Find reports on the international market for ICT on the websites of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Bank. See www.itu.int and www.worldbank.org respectively.

  • Research ICT Africahttps://researchictafrica.net
  • The Smart Africa initiative – http://smartafrica.org
  • United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) published a set of media development indicators that focused on the context of developing countries. Find these at www.unesco.org.
  • Vodafone and Accenture undertook a research programme intended to measure the impact of mobile communications on the lives and prosperity of farming communities in some of the world’s poorest countries. Find the “Connected Agriculture” report on www.vodafone.com.
  • World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)https://amarc.radio/home/

 

 

National strategy and government contacts

Read about the BBBEE ICT Sector Council at www.ictsectorcouncil.org.za.

  • Along with the shift in the world economy from West to East, increased connectivity between people (through cellphones and the Internet for example) is listed by the National Development Plan as one of the key drivers of change in the country.
  • Strategic Integrated Project (SIP) 15 entails expanding access to communication technology.
  • Find the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper on the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) website www.digitech.gov.za.
  • A Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution was established in 2019 to assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution (see the “Digital agriculture” page).

 

Government departments

  • The Competition Commission which ruled in 2019 that the price for data in South Africa was too high.
  • Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) www.dcdt.gov.za
  • Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) www.dst.gov.za

 

Public Entities and Agencies

  • South African Broadcasting Corporationwww.sabc.co.za
  • Sentech Ltd, “core provider of wireless broadband in South Africa” – www.sentech.co.za
  • South African Post Office
  • National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA)http://nemisa.co.za
  • The main aim of the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) is to ensure that “every man, woman and child whether living in the remote areas of the Kalahari or in urban areas of Gauteng can be able to connect, speak, explore and study using ICTs”. Visit www.usaasa.org.za.
  • The .za Domain Name Authority is responsibility for the .za domain name – www.zadna.org.za
  • Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is “responsible for regulating the telecommunications and broadcasting industries in the public interest, to ensure affordable services of a high quality for all South Africans”. See www.icasa.org.za.

Further reference:

Companies

  • Many agricultural companies and agribusinesses have their own magazines. Find their details on the “Agribusiness” or other relevant pages.

Associations

  • National and provincial farmer unions have their own newsletters and media. Find their details on the “Organised Agriculture” page.
  • Commodity associations and industry bodies too have their own media.

Government and public entities

Websites and publications

Refer to the websites listed earlier on this page. See also the “Digital agriculture” page.

Agribook media trips

Read our account of agricultural media field trips. There are grouped in (i) Farmers, bankers and conservationists (three parts); (ii) the West Coast media trip (three parts); (iii) the Overberg media trip (eight parts); and the Rustler’s Valley blogs (ten parts).  Find them at www.agribook.co.za/blog. Some of these blogs are listed below:

Overberg Media trip:
  • Setting the stage (part 1)
  • The choice to go left instead of straight (part 2)
  • Watercourse Restoration Project (part 3)
  • Conservation management – what’s in it for farmers? (part 4)
  • Stabilising soil structures (part 5)
  • A research centre and a place to stay (part 6)
  • The fynbos packhouse (part 7)
  • Flower Valley Farm (part 8)
West Coast media trip
Farmers, bankers and conservationists
  • Farmers, bankers, conservationists (part 1)
  • Farmers, bankers, conservationists (part 2)
  • Farmers, bankers, conservationists (part 3)
Rustler’s Valley

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