by Dean Miller

One seed at a time

Sansor hosts its 24th Annual Congress, and makes a difference in KZN

Sansor Annual Congress focused on the global food challenge
seeds.jpg

On 8 and 9 May, the South African National Seed Organisation (Sansor) held its 24th Annual Congress at  the Hilton Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

Before the event took place, however, a Pre-Congress Outreach Programme was held on 7 May 2013 at the Inthenjane Primary School in the Umgababa rural area. This school has 360 learners, of whom most are orphaned due to HIV. As a result, they are being raised by their grandparents.

The school provides one meal to each child per day, which is the only meal they receive as the community is very poor.

At this pre-event, Sansor supplied the school with a JoJo water tank, fencing material for a vegetable garden, a fridge, sweets and hygiene packs for the children, stationery packs for the teachers, and bags and blankets for the volunteers. 

The children entertained their guests with several dances and traditional songs while Ms Soko, the head mistress, supplied much-needed information so that Sansor could be of assistance to the school in the near future.

The Annual Congress 

The theme of this year’s congress was 'The Global Food Challenge', and guest speakers included: 

Professor David Block – Keynote speaker and director of the Cosmic Dust Laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he is professor in the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics. He holds a Master of Science degree in relativistic astrophysics and a PhD, specialising in the morphology of spiral galaxies. Prof. Block gave an inspiring presentation on the Power of Visionary Thinking.

Professor André Jooste – Chief executive officer of Potatoes South Africa. He holds an MSc (Agric)(Cum Laude) in Agricultural Economics. He gave an excellent presentation on the challenge of food security in South Africa, supplying statistics of the food security situation in South Africa. 

Mr Mike Allsopp is the senior researcher at the Plant Protection Research Institute (part of the Agricultural Research Council) in Stellenbosch, and head of the Honeybee Research Section, where he has been for the past 22 years. He holds an MSc (University of Pretoria, with distinction) with a PhD to be submitted in 2013 at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mr Allsopp gave a very interesting presentation on the subject: "A healthy honeybee population is critical to the South African seed industry".

Ms Sigrun Ammann – professional scientist in Grassland Science (Pastures) at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development at Cedara. She holds a BSc Agric Grassland Science and MSc Agric Crop Science on Responses of Eragrostis tef to spatial, temporal and nutritional management. Ms Ammann presented on the subject: "The Global Food Challenge with special reference to the seed industry".

Mr Garlich von Essen is the secretary-general of the European Seed Association. He holds a university degree in Agricultural Economics and a master's degree in EU political studies from the College of Europe. He gave a presentation on: "Revision of the EU regulatory framework for plant reproductive material and implementation of the European Seed Treatment Assurance – seed industry challenges and ESA approach". 


Election of office bearers

During the congress, the Annual General Meetings of the Agronomy, Horticulture and Forage Divisions were held, as well as the election of a new board from these divisions. The new Sansor Board of Directors (non-executive) for the 2013/14 financial year is:

Mr Brian Lever (Advance Seed) – Chairperson

Mr Gert Heyns (Monsanto SA) – Vice chairperson

Ms Susan Allen (Sakata SA) – Director

Mr Jan Coetzer (Pannar Seed) – Director

Mr David Durandt (Seedcor) – Director

Mr John Odendaal (Pannar Seed) – Director

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