Learners introduced to new spectrum of agricultural opportunities in Paarl

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The excitement is running high as VKB and Food For Mzansi enters the third week of their Agri Career Roadshow. Today, hundreds of learners attended two sessions hosted at Boland Agricultural School in Paarl, with hundreds more already registered for the Beaufort-West leg of the roadshow to be held tomorrow.

Learners are being introduced to a whole new spectrum of agricultural opportunities through many participating exhibitors, including Stellenbosch University (US), Aerobotics, Bayer, Boland College, MSD and The Answer Educational Publishers.

Breyton Milford, the Operations Manager of Agri-Expo, was a guest speaker at the career day held in Paarl. He shared his journey from growing up in Port Nolloth in the Nothern Cape to today being an agricultural leader.

Monika Basson from the US’s faculty of agricultural sciences, says it is noteworthy that “the right message” about agriculture is being shared with the learners at the nationwide events. It is important to do so because learners are the leaders of tomorrow and our future depends on them.

“Our future, our lives, our economy is dependent on agriculture and we need to ensure that we attract top talent to pursue their studies within the applied sciences. By doing that from an agriculture platform is exciting for us.”

Food For Mzansi co-founder Kobus Louwrens interacting with learners from La Rochelle Girls’ High School in Paarl.

There are many misperceptions amongst the youth when it comes to agriculture. Basson says learners are often under the impression that with a degree in agriculture they will end up doing manual labour, work the land or earn little money.

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She feels the only way for to learners to become aware of other agricultural opportunities is if they “see and hear the (real) stories from successful role models. If they have role models that they can look up to; they will be more likely to pursue a career within that field.”

Learners from Charleston Hill Secondary School in Paarl having loads of fun at the VKB Food For Mzansi Agri Career Day.

Highlighting that there are a variety of career opportunities within the agri space is Minette Killian, Boland College’s assistant director for marketing and corporate communication. She says, “It is also important for learners to realise that agriculture is not one-dimensional and within this field there are a multitude of career paths.”

Thrilled to be part of this day, Killian added, “It is of the utmost importance that the youth in our area makes informed choices with regards to their future.”

Sydney Louw (16), a gr. 11 pupil from South Peninsula High School in Diep River, says she has always wanted to go into medicine, but after attending the VKB Food For Mzansi Agri Career Day she now considers agriculture as a viable career choice.

Devin Osborne, Aerobotics’ Head of Agronomy, says they loved showing learners how they could join agriculture as one of the most important sectors of South Africa’s economy in a different way.

“I really have been thinking about a career in agriculture, although it’s not my first choice. I didn’t come with any misconceptions of agriculture, but I’ve definitely seen that there are a lot of gateway careers within the industry.”

Louw added, “I wasn’t aware that you could study such a vast amount of degrees and end up in agriculture. So that was quite interesting to find out.”

Also participating in the panel discussion was Aerobotics’ head of agronomy, Devin Osbourne. The agri-business provides technology and tools to reduce crop losses, improve yields and increase margins for farmers to become more profitable. “It was great seeing how learners loved the fact that we use the latest technologies like artificial intelligence, aerial imagery from drones and satellites as well as machine learning algorithms to do all this.”

Food For Mzansi is looking forward to meeting even more learners at the final stop of our VKB Food For Mzansi Agri Career Roadshow. Late registrations are still accepted for the scheduled Limpopo career days.


Tuesday, 6 Augustus 2019, Merensky High School, Tzaneen

Wednesday, 7 August 2019, Settlers High School, Settlers

  • For more information e-mail dawn@foodformzansi.co.za.
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