Meet Netafim SA’s new managing director

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Netafim South Africa recently announced Michael Esmeraldo as its managing director, effective 1 November 2022. Esmeraldo will take the reins from Adriaan de Lange, who joined Netafim SA at the end of 2021. De Lange has made a significant impact to date but has decided to pursue an exciting new opportunity.

Looking to the future, an opportunity was created to select a leader from within Netafim’s own ranks. Someone who has been on a journey with Netafim since the start of his career and is well embedded in the local irrigation industry. This decision was made keeping in mind continuity within the company, lasting relationships with clients, and ensuring a sustainable future with the next generation. Netafim SA also celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022, with the theme, ‘Celebrating the past, growing the future’.

Continuity is key

Esmeraldo’s appointment perfectly supports the theme of the company’s anniversary. He joined Netafim SA in January 2015 as an agronomist and very quickly developed his career at Netafim. He holds a B.Sc. degree in agronomy and agricultural economics, as well as an M.Sc. degree in soil science. In February 2019, Esmeraldo was appointed as regional sales manager working from Netafim’s Mbombela office and then joined the managerial team in April 2020.

He has made an impact and successfully managed the northern team by driving growth, building trusted relationships with key partners, customers, and stakeholders. Being focused on building a strong network in the industry, he joined the SA Irrigation Institute (SABI) early in his career. In 2021, he was elected as the youngest ever president of this industry organisation and has been leading the industry in this capacity ever since.

Read more about the 2022 Santam Agriculture National Silage competition finalists here.

“It is a massive honour to be entrusted with the role of managing director of Netafim SA,” said Esmeraldo. “I am passionate about agriculture, irrigation and Netafim, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to take a leading role. I know that this will be a steep learning curve, but I am excited about the growth opportunity and to be part of Netafim SA’s future in the local irrigation industry.

“Amid changes within Netafim SA, the irrigation industry and the wider agricultural industry, continuity is especially important. We must ensure that both our dealers and end-users can trust in continued service. This is why I want to build on the strong foundation laid by Adriaan, Etienne Erasmus before him, previous leaders, and team Netafim as a whole.

“My first focus will be to enable all Netafim employees to continue doing their jobs with excellence and help farmers grow more with less.”

The Netafim purpose is to advance life around the world by helping farmers grow more with less. How? By driving the mass adoption of precision irrigation and providing innovative precision irrigation solutions. Why? To fight water, land, and food scarcity.

Read more about the recent SASAS Student Quiz here.

“Our greatest challenge and duty in the irrigation industry is to continuously improve the way we use water and other inputs. Everyone in agriculture is feeling the pressure of what I like to call a cyclical dip in the agricultural industry. Beyond that, the industry faces many long-term challenges that task us to change the way we work. Luckily, tough times teach us to be more efficient, and efficiency is exactly what we need.”

Esmeraldo believes that modern farming is not only about using the latest technology, but also about farming more efficiently.

“We must use water, fertiliser, and other inputs efficiently to get optimal benefit per unit of input. This is why I am passionate about Netafim’s purpose and want to play a leading role in helping the company drive the mass adoption of precision irrigation.” – Press release, Netafim

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