Agricultural students and bursary holders accompanied by Hortgro chairperson and pome director, Nicholas Dicey (middle). From left is Chad van Wyk, Sakata Lebotse, Boitumelo Mokoena and Michaela-Anne White.
Agricultural students and bursary holders accompanied by Hortgro chairperson and pome director, Nicholas Dicey (middle). From left is Chad van Wyk, Sakata Lebotse, Boitumelo Mokoena and Michaela-Anne White.

Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe says he believes in the power of agriculture to change the country for the better. Speaking to bursary holders at a function earlier, Rabe reiterated that South Africa’s deciduous fruit growers have a proven track record of creating opportunities for promising agricultural students.

He says, “Agriculture holds the key to the future of this country. It has the potential to resolve and unlock many of our most pressing problems, such as land reform, food security, job creation, and how to manage climate change, to name but a few. Therefore, I believe you are in the right place at the right time.”

Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe says agriculture holds the key to South Africa's future.
Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe says agriculture holds the key to South Africa’s future.

Hortgro invests in the youth through various bursary schemes and by creating opportunities for students to enter the industry. However, Rabe says organised agriculture needs government to fulfil its role in ensuring policy stability and sustainable economic growth opportunities.

The growers’ association currently supports 31 undergraduate students and 59 post-graduate students with a bursary scheme and research projects valued at R5 million. Over the past six years alone, 406 students (at various academic levels) benefited from the scheme at a cost of more than R21 million to the industry, of which R15 million was allocated to post-graduate students for research programmes. The bursary funding scheme forms part of the industry levy, with additional support from AgriSETA and the Deciduous Fruit Industry Development Trust.

Rabe said that the deciduous fruit industry has a record of students ending up in the industry in “one way or another”, thereby creating much-needed human capital that is needed to ensure the future of the deciduous fruit industry.

Deciduous fruits are also known as stone fruits, meaning they have a pit in the middle of the fruit. Apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums are all considered deciduous stone fruit trees.

  • Applications for the 2020 Hortgro bursaries will open on 15 May 2019 and will close on 15 August 2019. Students can apply electronically. For more information contact Hortgro’s Human Resource Officer, Astrid Arendse at 021 870 2900.