A growing number of crafty, business-savvy youths have managed to break the barriers of unemployment by creating opportunities for themselves through farming. Take inspiration from these young South Africans who have turned their love for farming and agriculture into profitable careers.
With the little resources available to them to grow their agribusinesses, these youths are invested in learning how the agriculture industry works, and are making a difference in their lives, while also creating opportunities for employment in their communities.
Such young, business-savvy people include the likes of Sizwe Gumbi, a 28-year-old farmer from Driefontein, Mpumalanga who used his social media platform to appeal to individuals and businesses to support his farming business. Gumbi today runs a successful fresh produce business that distributes vegetables to his Driefontein community, as well as local shops.
Mahlatse Matlakana, a 20-year-old female in Limpopo also started her own green pepper farming business. At first, she did it for fun, however, she realized its potential for growth, and was able to make a success story of her now viable business. Mahlatse now owns an 8-ha farm, and employs people from her community.
“I am very confident about the future and I hope one day I’ll be able to open a training centre for the youth in my community and teach them about farming”, says Mahlatse
“With (26,7%) of the unemployment rate remaining unchanged over the first quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017,” the Quarterly Labour Force Survey reveals, a lot of young people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.”
This goes to prove that South Africa’s workforce population is growing faster than the jobs being created. Agriculture has shown potential to create employment, however, many young people don’t consider agriculture as a cool enough industry. How do we debunk that narrative? Political analyst, Mpumelelo Mkhabela believes is through a change in our higher education systems.
"We need to focus on education. Take the technical colleges, convert them to agricultural colleges and let the big private companies run those colleges in a 50/50 partnership with government”, says Mkhabela.
“The notion that a farmer is someone who sits on a tractor with a plough at the back should be abandoned,” adds Dirk Strydom, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State.
Strydom believes that farming has become highly technical and that’s what young people love and are enticed by.