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Syngenta launches the first customised Grower Leadership Academy

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Syngenta Grain Academy

Responding to the future demands for food security through sustainable agricultural practises, Syngenta teamed up with the University of the Free State’s Business School (UFS) to create the first tailor-made leadership development program, the Syngenta Grain Academy, for South Africa’s commercial grain growers. The Academy aims to equip growers with skills to address the challenges of tomorrow - not only on their farms - but also in the greater agricultural community.


The official launch of this ground breaking initiative took place at the University of the Free State’s Centre for Business Dynamics on the 26th of February 2013.  By helping shape the future of agriculture, Syngenta is playing a leading role in up-skilling the agricultural-sector with the role out of the Grain Academy during the course of 2013. At the launch Antonie Delport (MD: Syngenta South Africa) said: “The world’s farmers will need to produce in the coming 40 years as much food as they did over the past 8,000 years to provide for the world’s growing population.”


He further explained that Syngenta committed, in May 2012, to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next ten years through cumulative investments of over $500 million on the continent. The target over the period is to reach over 5 million growers and to enable productivity gains of 50% or more, by connecting people, land and technology. 


The future of agriculture is too important to be left to chance, hence the endorsement of the Syngenta Grain Academy by Grain South Africa and the active participation of UFS.  In his opening address, Professor Jonathan Jansen (Rector and Vice Chancellor of UFS), raised his deep concerns about the leadership crisis in South Africa.  . It is not just among politicians, but also among corporate and church leaders and in households where fathers are absent.  Taking this leadership crisis into account, Jansen said the Syngenta Grain Academy was making a valuable contribution to the future of agriculture. 


The Syngenta Grain Academy will run over three study block periods of three days each and will develop the twenty selected growers and industry players with skills that focus on:

  • The changing and interactive future of agriculture
  • The art of leading
  • The art and science of “Systems Thinking”
  • Valuing diversity
  • Leading and facilitating change and transformation


Syngenta is sponsoring all costs attributed directly to the course.  The Academy will challenge the candidates to new levels of active participation in order for them walk away from the course equipped to make a step-change in leading agriculture into the future.

Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 27,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. For more information about us please go to