Winner, Henk van Zyl, visits Les Barges Field Station in Switzerland
Earlier this year Potato South Africa’s (PSA) 2011 Farmer of the Year, Henk van Zyl, and his wife met up with Bruce McKenzie (Syngenta’s Africa Middle East Specialist Crop Head) and other Syngenta Swiss colleagues at our Les Barges field station in Switzerland. This is an opportunity offered to PSA’s winner as part of this Syngenta sponsored award.
The van Zyl’s were joined by their best friends and fellow Sandvelders, the Visser’s, for a great trip through Europe before begin hosted by Bruce on the evening prior to visiting Les Barges and a local multi-cropping farmer i.e. potatoes, livestock, cereals and more.
Bruce says: “They were stunned by the beauty of this part of Switzerland - Les Barges; Montreux & Laussane. Equally they could not believe the price of the general arable land, let alone the vineyards.”
During their tour they met with Urban Anderau, Syngenta’s man behind Mandipropamid and learnt about Syngenta’s experience in sprayer and nozzle technology. Thereafter they happily shared their knowledge and farming experiences with the local multi-cropping farmer and he demonstrated his “potato seed treatment machine”, a water-free atomizer.
They all enjoyed their time with Syngenta and welcome the prospects of strengthening their relationships with the company.
They also enjoy farming in the Sandveld and told Bruce that they are starting to feel the same pressures from the retail and processing outlets as the European producers. Henk is a born and bred Sandveld farmer. He says that despite the sandy soils and high salt content in the water he would not farm anywhere else.