Syngenta launches 2021 Leadership Academy for Agriculture Programme

 

With the right leadership, agriculture can heal South Africa – Twenty-eight agriculturists, from grain producers and agri-researchers to a Brahman stud manager and even a beekeeper, started their journey into leadership mastery.

This group, which represents the rich diversity of South Africa’s agriculture sector, is the 2021 class of the ninth annual Leadership Academy for Agriculture programme, sponsored by Syngenta South Africa.

“The Academy is our investment in the future of South African agriculture, especially now when food security is more important than ever as we deal with a global pandemic,” says Ben Schoonwinkel, head of marketing for Syngenta South Africa. “Our objective is to help shape the future of agriculture by equipping the next generation of leaders across the agriculture spectrum to address the real-life challenges that confront our industry. Judging by the contribution that the more than 200 alumni are making, we are indeed impacting the sector positively.”

The Leadership Academy for Agriculture programme is supported by Grain SA and is presented in three modules of three to four days each, during which the candidates work in groups to research and present solutions to topical issues facing the local agriculture sector.

The curriculum is developed and facilitated by Thinking Fusion Africa, with the Northwest University Business School as academic partner. Candidates who complete the course therefore add a highly accredited leadership programme to their portfolio of academic achievements.

The impact and reputation of the programme are attested to by the fact that more than 300 young career agriculturists applied to be included in the class of 2021. Many of them were inspired to do so by alumni who described the programme as “demanding” and “rewarding” in equal measure.

In his address, Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA, emphasised the importance of the programme being aimed at young agri-professionals. He recalled experiencing the leadership development programme Syngenta presented for senior American producers in August 2011. “I was hugely impressed, but it was clear to me that we shouldn’t pour resources into teaching old dogs new tricks.”

Syngenta South Africa supported De Villiers’ conviction that a leadership development programme for the local agri-market had to focus on the younger generation, says Schoonwinkel. “We need passionate leaders who have the energy and the courage to accept the challenge to drive change in the sector.”

Professor René Uys from Thinking Fusion Africa, who was recently appointed as a professor of practice at the NWU Business School on the strength of her work with the Leadership Academy, says that personal attributes and diversity were taken into account in the selection process.

“This business leadership development programme serves the entire agriculture sector, and we have seen in previous programmes that the more diverse the group is, the more the delegates are able to engage with real-life industry challenges in innovative ways,” she says.

While the purpose of the programme is to equip agri-professionals with the skills to tackle the industry’s challenges, its dream is for agriculture to be the unifying force and leader of economic growth in South Africa. “I believe that agriculture can heal this country, and my mantra is that leaders make things better,” said De Villiers. This, he said, is achieved when individuals change their mindset and behaviour, learn to listen and are open to participate and develop.

About Syngenta

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading agriculture companies. Our ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the planet.  We aim to improve the sustainability, quality and safety of agriculture with world class science and innovative crop solutions. Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources. With 28,000 people in more than 90 countries we are working to transform how crops are grown. Through partnerships, collaboration and The Good Growth Plan we are committed to improving farm productivity, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit www.syngenta.com and www.goodgrowthplan.com.

 

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Klas van 2021 begin hul Syngenta Leadership Academy for Agriculture Program

Met die regte leierskap, kan landbou Suid-Afrika heelmaak – Agt-en-twintig landboukundiges – van graanprodusente en landbounavorsers, tot die bestuurder van ‘n Brahmaanstoet en selfs ‘n byeboer – het hul reis om leierskap te bemeester, begin.

Die groep, wat die ryke diversiteit van Suid-Afrika se landbousektor weerspieël, is die 2021-klas van die negende jaarlikse Leadership Academy for Agriculture. Die program word deur Syngenta Suid-Afrika geborg met die ondersteuning van Graan SA.

“Hierdie inisiatief is ons belegging in die toekoms van Suid-Afrikaanse landbou, veral noudat ‘n wêreldwye pandemie die belangrikheid van voedselsekuriteit uitlig soos nog nooit vantevore in ons leeftyd nie,” sê Ben Schoonwinkel, bemarkingshoof van Syngenta Suid-Afrika. “Ons doelwit is om te help vorm gee aan die toekoms van landbou deur die volgende generasie leiers van regoor die landbouspektrum toe te rus om die werklike uitdagings wat ons bedryf konfronteer, aan te spreek. Te oordeel aan die bydrae wat die meer as 200 alumni alreeds lewer, kan ons met trots sê dat die program ‘n positiewe verskil maak.”

Die Leadership Academy for Agriculture se leerplan word ontwikkel en gefassiliteer deur Thinking Fusion Africa, met die Noordwes Universiteit se Besigheidskool as akademiese vennoot. Kandidate wat die program voltooi, sal dus ‘n hoogs geakkrediteerde leierskapontwikkelingsprogram tot hul portefeulje van akademiese prestasies kan voeg.

Die program word in drie modules van drie tot vier dae elk aangebied, waartydens die kandidate in groepe saamwerk om aktuele kwessies wat die landbousektor in die gesig staar, na te vors en oplossings op die tafel te sit.

Die Leadership Academy se impak en reputasie word onderstreep deur die feit dat meer as 300 jong landboukundiges aansoek gedoen het om deel te wees van die 2021-klas. Baie van hulle is aangespoor deur terugvoer van alumni wat die program as ewe veel “uitdagend” en “die moeite werd” beskryf het.

In sy toespraak het Jannie de Villiers, HUB van Graan SA, die belangrikheid dat die program op jong beroepslandboukundiges gemik is, beklemtoon. Hy het vertel dat hy in Augustus 2011 ‘n soortgelyke program in die VSA bygewoon het, behalwe dat dit vir senior produsente was. “Ek was geweldig beïndruk, maar het geen twyfel gehad dat ons eerder op jong mense moet fokus as om gevestigde gewoontes te probeer verander nie.”

Syngenta Suid-Afrika kon nie anders as om die waarde van De Villiers se oortuiging raak te sien nie, sê Schoonwinkel. “Ons het jong, passievolle leiers nodig, mense wat die energie en moed het om die bul by die horings te pak en verandering in die sektor teweeg te bring.”

Professor René Uys van Thinking Fusion Africa, wat onlangs as ‘n professor van praktyk by die NWU se Besigheidskool aangestel is op sterkte van haar werk met die Leadership Academy, noem dat persoonlike eienskappe én diversiteit in ag geneem is tydens die keuringsproses.

“Hierdie leierskapontwikkelingsprogram staan in diens van die hele landboubedryf, en vorige programme het ons geleer dat hoe meer divers die groep is, hoe beter in staat is die kandidate om die vraagstukke wat aan hulle gestel word, op vars en innoverende maniere aan te pak,” sê sy.

Die doel van die Syngenta Leadership Academy for Agriculture is om beroepslandboukundiges toe te rus met vaardighede om die bedryf se uitdagings aan te spreek. Die droom is egter dat landbou Suid-Afrika sal verenig en leiding neem in die land se ekonomiese groei.

“Ek glo dat landbou hierdie land van ons kan heelmaak,” sê De Villiers. “My mantra is dat leiers dinge beter maak. Enigiets is moontlik wanneer individue hul ingesteldheid en gedrag verander, leer om te luister en oop is om deel te neem en te ontwikkel.”

 

Published on Thu, 11th Feb 2021 - 12:20

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