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Nation in Conversation in 2022

After an absence of two years, Nampo 2022 is a reality and behind the scenes hard work is being done to make this agricultural spectacle a success. Nation in Conversation represents a highlight on the annual harvest day programme and this year, is no exception. In fact, the discussion forum has donned a brand new Nampo jacket for the occasion.

Nation in Conversation at Nampo

In celebration of Nation in Conversation's tenth anniversary, this popular discussion forum will not only boast a revitalised brand presence, but also a more dynamic format thanks to sponsors such as Bayer, Engen, Grain SA, John Deere, Nedbank and Senwes. Nation in Conversation was first launched at Nampo in 2013 and the first production took place under the auspices of the then Senwes Future Focus conversation forum. The aim of the forum is to bring together role players in the agricultural sector and to reflect on issues, locally and internationally.

Theo Vorster, co-founder of Galileo Capital and Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the agricultural business chamber Agbiz, will act as facilitators this year and together with various experts, sector leaders and role players they will tackle the following themes:

  • The state of the economy: onwards and upwards.
  • Nature matters: the responsible use of chemicals.
  • Better access: infrastructure and logistics.
  • Let’s fix it: the regeneration of rural communities.
  • Diversification and the integration of livestock.
  • Data in agriculture: a new era.
  • The future of agriculture: a new generation.
Forty specially invited guests will be part of each of the sessions and the conversations will be broadcasted from a brand new studio. The discussions will also be streamed live from the Nation in Conversation Youtube channel.


Nation in Conversation in 2019

The 2019 Series of Nation in Conversation got underway on 4 April with the first premiere of the brand new series focusing on arguably, South Africa’s hottest commodity, maize. The season also featured episodes on raisins, onions, livestock, nurseries, wheat, Nampo Bothaville, cotton, pecans and citrus. It was concluded on kykNET on the 27th of June 2019. A rerun of this show was broadcasted on kykNET&Kie from 2 July to 24 September 2019.

Nation in Conversation at Nampo

Nation in Conversation once again broadcasted live from the Nampo Harvest Day with at least two recordings a day over the 4-day period. The show, which has taken the agri-discussion mainstream with media partners like the Mail and Guardian, News24, eNCA, RSG, 702 Talk Radio, City Press and Business Day, as well as the traditional agri-press focused on topical issues like transformation, communal land, agriculture after the election, the deterioration of the platteland, successful financial models in unstable times, and the future of agriculture. As in the past, the discussion panels reflected agriculture’s foremost thought leaders on the different topics.

Nation in Conversation also broadcasted live from Nampo Cape for the second year running. Topics on the table included; The roles of the private and public sector in creating a growing economy in SA, Transformation success stories in the Western Cape, Grain industry with s focus on cash crops, Security issues in rural areas and the Wine business.

Nation in Conversation in 2018

The 2018 Nation in Conversation television series got a new formula where a combination of tourism, commodity and industry focuses came together. The focus for this 13-episode television series was on various commodities not previously highlighted which included; dates, nuts, wheat, avocados, coffee, carrots, pork, milk, beef, cherries, sunflowers & soya bean and a two-part episode focusing on Nampo Bothaville.

The Land Reform Debate continued to take centre stage in 2018 as was reflected in the themes of the Nampo Harvest Day broadcasts of Nation in Conversation. Show titles like Land reform – from emotions to rationality looked at how decisions made at the ANC’s 54th elective conference in December 2017, appeared to see two seemingly incompatible positions emerge on the issue of land reform.

Other topics included robust discussions on: Land reform must help emerging farmers to catch up with latest agri-trends; Farming for a sustainable future; Don’t bank on land reform panic - policy menu is diverse; as well as looking at The Importance of Economy of Scale: Big vs small. Industry heavy weights like Agriculture Economist Wandile Sihlobo, BFAP’s Ferdi Meyer and GrainSA CEO Jannie de Villiers and Senwes Group CE Francois Strydom were part of the discussions.

Nation in Conversation also took part in the first ever Nampo Cape in the Overberg where fascinating topics were discussed which included; How we create new energy in Agriculture, Sustainable Meat Production, a discussion on Barley, Training and training institutions in Agriculture and lastly, a focus on the youth involved in Agriculture.


Four years ago, the Nation in Conversation agri-talkshow series was birthed at Nampo Harvest Day as a Senwes initiative, when key stakeholders in the agriculture value chain got together to have serious discussions about the state of agriculture in South Africa. Agriculture is considered the cornerstone of a country’s economy, and with mounting pressure on South Africa to feed its constantly growing and urbanising population, as well as that of the continent of Africa, it remains imperative that the importance and value of agriculture be understood and appreciated by ordinary citizens.

Nation in Conversation show host Theo Vorster summed up the impact of the series well when he recently said: “Since the show began four years ago, the discussions are certainly taking place on a wider platform and it is being discussed in much deeper detail. Another important aspect of the show is that it has clearly highlighted that agriculture not only affects the agricultural community, but the entire population of South Africa.”

Fellow show host Mpumelelo Mkhabela added that: “I have been encouraged by the diversity of voices that has come to the fore; it has been good to see Nation in Conversation bringing together representatives from all stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.”

Senwes Group CEO captures the spirit and nature of Nation in Conversation with his comment that: “It is in our joint interest to ensure that our agricultural industry remains secure and stable, that we seek consensus to overcome the many challenges facing agriculture today and work together towards a sustainable future.

The future of agriculture and the welfare of our country are intertwined and can only be secured through progressive action, finding mutual ground and establishing partnerships between commercial farmers, civil society and the State”.


The discussion continues on Nation in Conversation in 2017. Filming of the next series of Nation In Conversation, which started broadcasting again on 4 January 2017 got underway in November 2016. The respected agri-chat show, which was initiated by Senwes and made its debut at Nampo four years ago, has grown in reputation and stature as THE show to watch and follow critical agri-issues. Joining regular anchor Theo Vorster, is seasoned presenter Rozanne McKenzie whom viewers will recognise from her presenting roles on Dagbreek on kykNET, as well as Mpumelelo Mkhabela, former editor of Sowetan newspaper.

The new series features on-location interviews and in-studio analyses with industry experts sharing unique and enlightening insights into the machinations of agriculture from the farm-gate to the table. Nation In Conversation media partner, Landbouweekblad’s Chris Burgess lends his years of experience of the industry to the series by sharing his insight on the agri-value chain of each specific agri-industry.

The new series is broadcasting on kykNET, Soweto TV and Business Day TV, and is also available on YouTube. Exact broadcast dates and times are available on the Nation in Conversation App as well as here. Remember, if you have something to say about the state of agriculture in South Africa, you don’t have to be a guest on the show, all you need to do is download the app and participate with the show by posting your questions and inputs!


This year Nation in Conversation will again be broadcast live on several platforms during the four days of Nampo Harvest Day in Bothaville from May 16-19 . The series has grown in stature and importance with leading players in the industry and mainstream economy participating in the discussion more and more. This year viewers can look forward to panel discussions on the following subjects: Finances: Labour, Diversification & Financial Planning; From Commodity to Trademark; The Role of Advisors, Technology and Soil Health; Females in Agriculture, Focus on Youth: A future in Agriculture; Successful Transformation Initiatives and Agriculture – A Positive Outlook.

These riveting subjects will be facilitated by an equally reputable line-up of show hosts and guests such as: Carte Blanche’s Derek Watts; 702 and CapeTalk’s Eusebius McKaiser; former Nation in Conversation guest anchor and media expert Jeremy Maggs; CEO of Galileo Capital, Theo Vorster; former politician and current chairman of the In Transformation Initiative, Roelf Meyer; Money Show host Bruce Whitfield; Nation in Conversation co-anchor Mpumelelo Mkhabela and Power FM’s personality Andile Khumalo.

Nation in Conversation will again be at the NAMPO Harvest Day to discuss topical issues in the agricultural sector.  South Africa's top thought leaders will be gathering to be a voice for the producer and his key partners and to encourage and stimulate debate dialogue with South African consumers.

South Africa cannot survive without farmers. Agriculture is the only industry which can ensure sustainable economic growth and wealth", says Mr Andries Gamede, Mpumalanga MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Matters. Nationally and internationally it is time to realise the extent of the impact of agriculture on South Africa and the community and this is where Nation in Conversation plays a role.

Nation in Conversation serves as a "voice" for the producer and its key partners and goes from strength to strength in making a world-wide positive impact.  Communal, small and commercial farmers are mostly excluded from discussions which really matter, since such discussions are traditionally regarded as taboo. This often results in the agricultural sector not being heard and in ignorance being exploited, which is usually to the detriment of the farmers. 

This is why Nation in Conversation was initiated and why it includes important role players in the agricultural sector, namely AFGRI, Engen, John Deere, Grain SA, Monsanto and Nedbank.  It takes place under the leadership of Senwes at the NAMPO Harvest Day at Bothaville.

This year will be Nation in Conversation's fourth year at the NAMPO Harvest Day.  This forum attempts to inform the average South African of the important role played by agriculture in our country, the world and the role it will play in the future.  The objective is to encourage dialogue amongst leaders from different affiliations, political backgrounds and the business sector in order to find common ground upon which the case of agriculture can be strengthened.  "We hope to motivate farmers and the community alike to think differently about agriculture and agricultural issues", says Francois Strydom (Group Chief Executive of Senwes).

Anchor presenter, Theo Vorster, responded as follows: “Against the background of the emotional value of land and the upcoming municipal elections, as well as the consequences of the drought, informed and rational discussions are becoming increasingly relevant for decision-making”.

Senwes works in the interest of the agricultural sector.  By making human resources available, mobilising role players in the agricultural sector and putting initiatives in place, Senwes helps to motivate thought leaders to initiate discussions on sensitive agricultural issues and to find solutions. “It is in the interest of all concerned to ensure the safe and stable functioning of the agricultural sector, in which producers will be supported and motivated.  For this reason we attempt to reach consensus and to overcome the challenges faced by agriculture.  We attempt to bring about co-operation which will lead to a better and more sustainable future for agriculture", Strydom explained.

This year's Nation in Conversation will attempt to encourage dialogue of an exclusive and solution driven nature from 17 - 20 May and we are excited to have a number of main stream media partners on board. Nation in Conversation will also have a larger digital footprint this year with increased functionality, more platforms and it will be more user friendly.  Users can look out for the Nation in Conversation application which will be available in various App Stores in due course.  This application will place Nation in Conversation in the palm of the public's hand and will expand agricultural and topical matters further than ever before.

Enthusiasts can also follow all the studio discussions during NAMPO via YouTube, on the Nation in Conversation website and/or on the application. Interactive participation is high on the priority list in order to include viewers, listeners and readers in the discussions and to discuss their comments and questions in the studio.

Nation in Conversation will have two external broadcasting areas (in front of Farmer Patents and the Hinterland Hall) with huge LED-screens. This luxury will make it possible for more NAMPO visitors to follow discussions and to be part thereof. 

Provision will also be made for those concerned about band width and megabytes by means of social media, which will be used to take the discussions to the nation.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn will keep users abreast of every day's discussions.

In a continuous attempt to discuss problems and other issues as soon as possible, the discussions can be viewed on various TV-channels during the week following NAMPO Harvest Day. Keep an eye on the media and our website for the program, topics to be discussed and panel members.

NAMPO 2015 was a defining moment for Nation in Conversation. For the first time, the panel discussions were presented in both Afrikaans and English. Over 40 panel members participated in the discussions, representing diverse views on pertinent issues.

The event received wide media coverage, including extensive coverage on non-agricultural platforms, resulting in reaching a far wider audience. Coverage included six official media partners (Volksblad, Business Day TV, Farmbiz, Farmer’s Weekly, Landbouradio and Landbouweekblad), extended news/editorial coverage and longer-format content carriers.

Following the success of the discussion forums at NAMPO Harvest Day, and in line with its vision to extend the dialogue to reach a far wider audience, Senwes-initiated Nation in Conversation concept was extended into a thirteen part dialogue series which were broadcast on kykNET, Business Day Television and Soweto TV from mid-September 2015 through to January 2016.

“We all need take cognisance of what is happening in the agricultural industry as access to quality and affordable food resources affect our entire nation’s well-being,” says Theo Vorster, CEO of Galileo Capital and anchor of the Nation in Conversation series.

The Nation in Conversation television series were hosted in English and Afrikaans and focussed on the following topics:
  • Land reform – current proposals and models for successful reform
  • Land ownership – what are the alternatives to private land ownership
  • Building sustainable enterprises – agricultural enterprises as commercial entities
  • Labour relations – mentorship and development of new farmers, managing resource challenges
  • Food value chain – maximizing resources through partnerships
  • Promoting and protecting locally produced products
  • New developments in primary production – how is it expected to change in the next five years and in the long run
  • Affordability of food – role of producers and retailers
  • Improving agricultural efficiencies through technology and precision farming
  • Environmental challenges, protection of our scarce resources and access to alternative energy sources 
  • Organic vs. bulk farming and production – ensuring biodiversity and sustainability 
  • Conservation agriculture 
  •  International trade – import and export demands on agriculture
  • A special draught-focus episode was filmed and broadcast on kykNET and Business Day TV. 

The initiative was taken to new heights in 2014. “Nation in Conversation” was born. The aim was to reach an audience beyond the agricultural sector, and to influence public perceptions around agricultural issues.

Phase 1: Activation at NAMPO
Daily Afrikaans Panel discussions were hosted at NAMPO Harvest Day, and broadcast on kykNET.
Phase 2: Television Inserts
29 Television inserts were broadcast on kykNET from May to September.

The initiative was first launched at NAMPO Harvest Day 2013 as “Senwes Toekomsfokus Gespreksforum”. Daily panel discussions took place over the 4 days of NAMPO, and content segments were broadcasted on kykNET. The forums were presented in Afrikaans. The main objective was to provide a consolidated platform to engage the agricultural sector in conversation – including agri-businesses, suppliers, producers and stakeholders.