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SA students shine at IFAMA Conference

Christchurch, New Zealand –

A team of four bright post graduate Agricultural Economics students, sponsored by Case IH and New Holland, did South Africa proud at the recent International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) Conference held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

IFAMA hosts an annual conference that attracts multiple agribusiness professionals from across the world to share common goals of improving and growing sustainable global food systems. This is the biggest event of its kind and the only conference to deliver an international student case study competition exclusively focused on food and agribusiness management.

The South African team consisted of Heinrich Kotze, Ryno Schoeman, Jan Daniel Strydom and Danie Naudé, all studying for their Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State. They were accompanied by their academic advisor, Prof. Henry Jordaan, also from UFS. 

 

At UFS these four students also tutor various subjects for Agricultural Economics modules. As members of the IFAMA group, Heinrich Kotze and Ryno Schoeman have represented the university at previous IFAMA events in 2022. They participated in the student case study competition where Heinrich was part of the team that won the competition.

This year, IFAMA again hosted its renown student case study competition to test participants’ skill and acumen in agribusiness management. It is designed to challenge students’ analytical problem-solving, presentation and team working skills, giving them the experience and knowledge to tackle high-level challenges in the future.

South African students have an enviable record in this competition, with another former UFS student, Michelle Marais, also standing out as a winning team member in 2022 .

Teams get four hours to prepare a presentation to solve a unique problem that is given at the conference. The teams must present their proposal to a panel of judges consisting of industry professionals and academics.

This year’s case study explored the challenges faced by small farmers in Honduras, including poverty and low crop yields. The question arose whether an agrochemical company should work with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Honduras to help these farmers increase their production. The aim was to develop a framework that this company could use to assess the viability of the collaboration with the specific NGO to ensure the project would be financially and operationally sustainable.

The team approached the problem as follows: Based on existing knowledge, they proposed establishing a new NGO, inspired by similar initiatives by organisations like Grain SA. The proposed solutions emphasised political, social and economic factors, including education and production sustainability.

The case study provided an opportunity to solve complex problems under pressure, promote critical thinking and encourage innovative solutions. In addition, the experience helped build strong relationships between team members from different countries.

According to the team, this event offered them, as aspiring professionals, an unmatched opportunity and exposure to the worldwide agricultural industry. Topics like technology, sustainability and climate change gave them a glimpse of the world’s latest technologies being implemented in first world countries.

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They also noted the problems being addressed in first world countries are significantly different to the problems in Southern Africa. Developing countries, for example, struggle with poverty and hunger, while developed countries contend with sustainability and efficiency, and how to reduce waste.

The team expressed their sincere gratitude for being afforded the opportunity to learn and develop abroad. “Overall, it was a memorable experience for all of us,” they agreed.

Jacques Taylor, managing director of CNH Industrial Southern Africa, the holding company of Case IH and New Holland, said he was delighted by the good showing of our local students on the international stage. “We consider it a privilege to help promising students to expand their horizons in this manner. As a company we are committed to promoting and fostering the development of knowledge and skills for the benefit of agriculture in the entire region,” he added.

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CNH Industrial N.V. is a global leader in capital goods listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CNHI) and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario of the Borsa Italiana (MI: CNHI). More information about CNH Industrial can be found online at www.cnhindustrial.com.

For more information please contact:

Name: Chimene de Villiers

Position: Head of Marketing and Communication

Telephone: 079 797 8676

E-mail: chimene.devilliers@cnhind.com

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