Youth Month has come to an end but the need for young people in the agricultural sector remains great as ever. For Aron Kole, managing director of FarmSol, developing young talent in the industry is of utmost importance.
As a people, our connection to the future really lies in the potential of our youth, more so when it comes to farming. We cannot really achieve any success in the future without investing in the youth.
It is with youth development in mind that FarmSol developed the Youth Ambassador Desk, a programme we crafted in 2020 in order to inspire young, aspirant agricultural entrepreneurs. The programme focuses on creating supportive partnerships that will push young people towards success in the agricultural sector.
The programme appointed its first annual FarmSol Youth Ambassador, Njabulo Mbokane, who was crowned in 2020. She farms on leased land in Ermelo and Lothair in Mpumalanga.
The importance of bringing young people into the sector to contribute towards alleviating poverty and creating employment opportunities cannot be understated. We are facing adverse climate conditions such as the pest outbreaks. We saw, for example, the locust outbreaks that plagued the East Africa region and we often have disease outbreaks that threaten sustainable food production.
Young people can bring new perspectives and new ways of doing things including using modern technologies to circumvent these challenges.
Developing young farmers
Throughout my career, working with farmers, particularly young farmers, I got to realise that it is not that young people do not want to participate in farming or that they do not have interest in farming, but rather that they often didn’t know which doors to knock on.
Through the Youth Ambassador Desk FarmSol we hope to achieve four specific objectives:
- The first objective is to promote the development of young people in agriculture.
- The second is to drive agricultural awareness amongst the youth, particularly in relation to the opportunities available to them in the sector.
- Thirdly, FarmSol wants to rally support for young people through partnerships with other entities.
- Lastly, we want to provide the young people in the programme with practical and valuable farming information.
A tip for the youth
Here are some words of advice for young people wanting to go into agriculture. Start. Just like a successful harvest, we start with one single step of planting a seed. To be successful is to begin with whatever you want to achieve, no matter how big or scary the obstacle might appear.