Farmers Are the Nation’s Keepers – De Klerk

Farmers are in essence the nation’s keepers and as such a huge responsibility rests on their shoulders to ensure the population is fed if Namibia is to achieve its goals of Vision 2030.

This crucial fact was stressed by Veronica de Klerk of Women’s Action for Development (WAD) on Tuesday when she addressed the opening of the 27th annual congress of the Agricultural Employers’ Association in Windhoek. The congress theme is ‘Passing down the Legacy’ with some 72 farmers’ association representatives in attendance.

De Klerk noted that no Vision 2030 objectives can be reached on empty stomachs, adding that the agricultural sector must at all times be a smooth-running and well-oiled machine. Stressing the importance of solid employeremployee relationships, she said. “No team leader is a team leader without a team and no team is a team without a leader. Any shortcomings in a team will result in the team operating like a tractor with a slow puncture: stop and go. Education, motivation and communication are the key words to ensure common goals and optimum results are achieved on the farm and in the bigger picture of the country.” De Klerk said the ideal farm team should result in a two-way consultation unit and in this regard the ability to listen to each other is one of the greatest forces in life. “A farm manager must have clear achievable goals and establish excellent relations with his team to avoid frustrations and hamper progress. Hisher plans must include ongoing training and clear defined roles for each team member. Team members must be encouraged to perform and must also be rewarded accordingly. Misunderstandings lead to money wasting and misunderstandings can be avoided by clear and thought-provoking discussions on a daily basis. Everybody on the farm must be on the same page,” she emphasised.

“A wise team leader will never shout or scream out frustrations but rather communicate and collaborate. Farmworkers, as team members, must also know they are part of a code of conduct and misbehaving on their side could lead to disciplinary hearings. In order to enhance productivity, it is of vital importance that employersemployees experience a free flow of education and communication at all times. Workers must realise that unreasonable demands for increased wages can [hurt] the industry and their own livelihood. Negotiations for increased wages must always be based on facts, not suspicions.” .

De Klerk said the workforce on any farm is the property’s most important asset and must be treated as such without the workers making impossible demands. “The name of the game is training, training, training,” she said.

Source : New Era