Building climate change resilience through regenerative agriculture

18th March 2024

SAI Platform’s Annual Event 2024

SAI Platform will host the 2024 edition of its Annual Event in Durban, South Africa between 24th and 28th June. Bringing organisations from across the global food and drink industry value chain together, for the first time on the African continent, this exclusive member only event promises a deep dive into the realities of agriculture in South Africa.

The SAI Platform Annual Event is a global event and networking opportunity, fostering collaboration and partnership opportunities across the agri-food sector. In today’s increasingly complex sustainability landscape, it is more critical than ever for the industry to come together to openly discuss shared challenges and get out into the field and engage with the farmers and technical advisors driving practical impact on the ground.

The theme of this year’s event is Building Climate Change Resilience through Regenerative Agriculture and there will be a strong focus on how to build productive, profitable and resilient farms in the face of increasing climate impacts. #SAIPlatform2024 offers an engaging five day programme, featuring two full days dedicated to field visits in the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape regions and an insightful full-day conference, as well as the SAI Platform General Assembly and community meetings.

Members will have the opportunity to witness firsthand the transformative power of climate smart and regenerative agriculture with their visits to South African farms and research centers, including the South African Sugarcane Research Institute. They’ll learn how innovative projects like the Jobs Fund Project are not only creating jobs but also empowering rural communities and experience firsthand the environmental and economic benefits of regenerative practices such as soil health improvement, biodiversity restoration, reduced chemical inputs, and diversified farming systems.

From a dairy perspective, members will have the chance to visit Nestlé’s innovative low carbon dairy research farm in George, as well as delving into what it takes to transition from a conventional dairy farm to fully organic on a visit to Colbourne Farm with WWF South Africa.

The conference programme offers an exciting mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions to address, energise and inspire the audience. Wandile Sihlobo, Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa will kickstart the day with a keynote speech drawing on research for his recent book, A Country of Two Agricultures. He will set the scene and provide context about the challenges and opportunities facing smallholders and commercial farmers in South Africa from an economic, environmental and social perspective.

Panel discussions will focus on building resilience from a soil, water and climate perspective before the focus shifts to the important role played by public private partnerships in financing the transition. Confirmed speakers include Dr Johann Strauss of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Dr Jacques van Rooyen of Herding 4 Hope, Justin Smith of WWF South Africa and Bongiwe Njobe, previously of the Department of Agriculture, South Africa. SAI Platform members from Illovo Sugar, Netafim, Unilever, Sygenta Group and Yara International will also be taking part in these relevant discussions.

If the global transition to regenerative agriculture is to be realised, the buy-in of farmers is crucial. With three sessions dedicated to bringing forward the farmer’s perspective on the economic risks and opportunities associated with building climate resilience and the transition to more regenerative practices, members will have ample opportunity to engage with smallholders, large scale producers, female and next generation farmers.

In what has now become a tradition at SAI Platform’s Annual Event, we will also see a return to the debating chamber as the SAI Platform Secretariat, members and local experts take to the stage for a provocative debate for and against the motion: The exclusive focus on GHG emission reduction is counterproductive to building resilience in our agricultural systems.

Acknowledgment is duly given to the invaluable support of this year’s sponsors: Nestlé, Syngenta Group, Unilever, ABF Sugar, Illovo Sugar and Yara International. This event underscores a collective commitment towards driving positive change within the agri-food sector.

Join us in Durban as we embark on a journey towards building a more resilient and sustainable future for agriculture.

For full details on the programme, field visits and confirmed speakers and to REGISTER NOW, please visit our dedicated event website.