South Africa’s new crop of young farmers agree that new entrants must be forward-thinking and strive to be innovative in their agri-enterprises.
During a recent Gather To Grow session, Food For Mzansi gave a thumbs-up to youth who are embracing agricultural technology as the way forward.
The session included plant pathologist Diana Mngomezulu, animal scientist Thabiso Maenetje, Free State cattle farmer Annalea Van Niekerk, Agri SA chief agricultural economist Kulani Siweya, plant scientist Henry Basson, agri-horticulturalists Vuyokazi Mtshazi, and farmer Thabo Skhosana.
Basson, described agricultural technology as indispensable. According to him, tech is proving to be quite advantageous to the farming industry, in that it simplified the work of farmers.
A wealth of data
“We can analyse your farm’s fields with literally just a drone and you can have data about your farm [within minutes]. You (farmers) have to think about all these things, especially in today’s world.”
During the session, he shared how he believed technology would impact farmers’ day-to-day business operations going forward.
“We must remember that we are the new generation. We are the younger generation, and we are here to be innovative, and [exhibit] a passion for agricultural innovation.”
Skhosana, a dairy farmer from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, echoed Basson’s sentiments. Contrary to popular belief, the fourth industrial revolution was here to aid farmers to work more efficiently, Skhosana told Twitter users.
“It’s not here to make the work for us more redundant or stagnant,” he stated. “Most of the equipment used today is digitalised and works best on apps on cell phones, which makes it more efficient to work on farms.”
On this session panelists also unpack:
- Access to agricultural opportunities such as internships, training and larger markets;
- The importance of researched-based farming; and
- Ways to reduce wasteful agricultural expenditures.
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