Former President Nelson Mandela said that “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”.

It is precisely because of this acknowledgement that the (promotional) communication material to engage the smallholder grain farmers, that will connect with the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute’s (FABI) Diagnostic clinic via the Innovation Africa @UP digital platform, is initially being development in isiZulu, sePedi, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

On 5 October, FABI students and staff member Ms. Thembeka Mkhize (intern), Ms. Jane Ramaswe (PhD candidate), Ms. Nombulelo Qikani (MSc student) and Ms Amy Collop (Technical Assistant: Biological Control) lent their voices to be heard towards the accomplishment of a mission to talk to smallholder grain farmers in South Africa in their own languages about the ‘Importance of Plant Health’, ‘Understanding the cause of a plants sickness’ and ‘How to send a sample to the FABI Diagnostic Clinic’.

These efforts are part of a greater effort to bring 4IR plant health management technologies to smallholder grain farmers to help increase productivity and competitiveness of a farming community that is poised to play a crucial role in food security.

This project is powered by an alliance with various partners of FABI and Innovation Africa @UP, including Grain SA, Cropwatch Africa, Social Coding SA and funding from the Department of Science and Innovation, UNICEF and Future Africa.