The program offers graduates of agricultural studies the opportunity to learn different skills to manage a farm. (Photo: Supplied)
RecruitAgri, which was started by three independent farmers – GA Chalkley Estates (Pty) Ltd, Agristar Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Lochaber (Pty) Ltd – and is now supported by various companies, aims to expose agricultural graduates to different practices agriculture through a one-year structured practical agricultural course.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
Primness Mashego, a graduate in agricultural studies, now a junior manager at a commercial farm in Mpumalanga, believes it would have taken her much longer to reach her current position had she followed the traditional route of job search afterwards. his studies.
Mashego (24) graduated with a Agricultural Management Diploma in Crop Production from the University of Mpumalanga in 2019. In February last year, she started a program with RecruitAgri, which provides graduates with experience and training in as agricultural managers in macadamia farms.
The organization, which was started by three independent farmers – GA Chalkley Estates (Pty) Ltd, Agristar Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Lochaber (Pty) Ltd – and is now supported by various companies, aims to expose agricultural graduates to different agricultural practices through a one-year structured practical agricultural course.
It targets graduates aged 25 and under and offers subjects related to growing macadamia nuts and avocados. Since 2018, 33 graduates have completed the training and found employment on farms. Students receive a monthly stipend.
“The university gave me knowledge [but] the fieldwork gave me hands-on experience, ”said Mashego, who oversees a team of 10 farm workers with years of practical experience. Lack of experience was cited as a contributing factor to youth unemployment. President Cyril Ramaphosa even backed calls by the National Youth Development Agency for employers to remove experience as a key requirement for entry-level jobs.
The RecruitAgri program serves as a gateway for agronomy graduates facing this dilemma.
“I wish every graduate could have this opportunity. We come from university with qualifications, but this program gives us practical exposure, ”said Delisile Mabila (26), an agriculture graduate from the University of Venda.
She does her training with RecruitAgri at White River in Mpumalanga.
Mabila, who is studying for a master’s degree and is expected to complete her practical studies in November, believes the course has prepared her for running a farm. Her long term plan is to start her own macadamia farm.
Australia is the world’s largest macadamia producer, contributing over 30% of the global harvest; 70% is exported. SA is ranked among the smaller players, but demand for macadamias is expected to increase significantly by 2030. According to Macadamias South Africa, the total value of the annual harvest has increased from 32 million rand in 1996 to around 4 million. , 8 rand. billion this year. The organization says that last year the macadamia industry planted 5,351 new hectares in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Cyril Maseko, 2019 graduate of the RecruitAgri program, is now production manager supervising around 135 workers. He is responsible for planning the daily tasks of the team and making sure everything is on budget.
“After you graduate, you either face unemployment or you go looking for internship after internship,” said Maseko from Kabokweni near Mbombela in Mpumalanga.
He was working as a trainee section chief at Limpopo when he saw an advertisement for RecruitAgri.
“I came straight from school. But the chances of finding a job for me were very, very slim then. After joining RecruitAgri, my chances of employment skyrocketed. In agriculture, experience matters, ”said Maseko.
The program helped him gain experience in different aspects of the farming business. During his studies, he did a month of practical work on a community project that he considers insufficient.
“Agriculture is not just about planting. I learned about people management, financial management.
“We had different mentors from different farms, different challenges. Some of the techniques that I now use at work I have seen at RecruitAgri, ”he said.
During the 10-month program, trainees spend at least two months on each farm doing practical work, while taking a course under the tutelage of Roy Porritt, who has extensive experience in agriculture in Zimbabwe and Africa. from South. He studied in the United States, specializing in irrigation techniques.
Porritt said the idea behind the program was to prepare students for roles as farm managers. They learn to understand the whole process of running a farm.
“You can do all the theory in college. But you need the practical opportunity to understand the practical demands of running a farm. – DM168
This story first appeared in our Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper which is available for free to Smart Pick n Pay shoppers at these Pick n Pay stores.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-22 21:40:19