From mielies to a massive trade fair

From mielies to a massive trade fair

Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day has grown exponentially. From humble beginnings it has become an international “must see” event … We take a look at its journey from a little acorn to a great oak

The Nampo Harvest Day – held at Nampo Park, an exhibition ground 15 km from Bothaville in the Free State – has grown from a humble agricultural show, where maize farmers could compare products from different manufacturers on one site, to a “must see” event that includes anything and everything from most farming sectors and related industries.

Products on display include: tractors; agricultural machinery; commercial vehicles; transport and irrigation equipment; pumps; generators; and artificial insemination equipment. Nampo also showcases financial services; feeding systems, products and services; research organisations; chemical products; seeds; dairy equipment and products; equipment for poultry, cattle, sheep and pigs; hydroponics; IT technology services and products for farming.

There is also an array of accessories, clothes and anything else a farmer might need in the field and at home …

After the first Nampo Harvest Day in 1967, Willie Kotzé, the then-director of the South African Maize Producers Institute, couldn’t have hit the nail more firmly on its head with his prediction that the show would become famous one day; “like the flower festival in Holland, the Rhine festivals in Germany and the Windhoek carnival”, Kotzé noted according to Grain SA’s archives.

Wim Venter, administration officer of the Harvest Day, states that the first show took place on the farm Donkerhoek, outside Bloemfontein, and was attended by 200 farmers. “From there it moved to various farms, until its growth and size demanded a permanent home,” says Venter.

This was established in 1974, on the venue outside a farming town situated near the Vaal River; Bothaville, appropriately dubbed “the maize capital of South Africa”. And so Nampo Park was born.

Venter adds that the 1974 Harvest Day attracted 32 exhibitors (on an area of eight hectares, while practical demonstrations took place on a 30 ha area). Today, the Nampo Agricultural Trade Show draws more than 600 local and international exhibitors, spread over 24 ha, and is attended by tens of thousands of visitors.

Almost every year, for the past decade, the Nampo Harvest Day has grown in terms of exhibitors and visitors. It’s no wonder that the show is said to be one of the largest privately organised and owned exhibitions in the world, and the largest show of agricultural machinery and livestock in the southern hemisphere.

It is noteworthy, however, that the show’s goal has remained the same throughout its existence: it is still to create a platform for doing business, gathering information, building relationships and discussing topical matters about everything and anything related to the agricultural industry …

It’s no wonder that thousands of people, including the FOCUS team, annually make the great trek to the Nampo Harvest Day to see what the show has to offer. Grab a copy of the June edition of FOCUS as we’ll feature all the commercial vehicles and transport equipment that aid the agricultural sector to move grain, livestock and people, on show at Nampo Harvest Day 2014.

Kotzé’s prediction has not only been fulfilled, the Harvest Day’s fame has surpassed the other occasions he referred to; the trade show has grown from a little acorn to a great oak …

This year’s Nampo Harvest Day takes place from May 13 to 16, with the gates opening at 07:00 and closing at 17:00. Come end of April, tickets will be available at selected Engen service stations and depots, as well as at Senwes retail outlets at R80 for the Tuesday and Friday and R90 for the Wednesday and Thursday.

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