“We need to attract young and agile people who will form the bedrock of agriculture and agribusiness – now and in the future.” This is the call in the latest episode of Farmer’s Inside Track from agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza. She was a speaker at last week’s Food For Mzansi Pan-African Summit on Youth in Sustainable Agriculture, and says we need youth in the sector.
In the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the cracks in our food systems and underscored just how important agriculture is in the development of our country and our continent.
Didiza says that the pandemic tested the resilience of Africa’s food system, especially during the phases of total lockdown.
“There were threats of food insecurity as countries went on total lockdown. Countries had to immediately close borders so as to manage the virus by tracking and tracing, as well as treating those who were infected as a way of slowing the virus down.
“This was done in order to save lives and livelihoods. Countries that were dependent on food imports were the most affected in this regard.”
Didiza says the lessons taught by the Covid-19 pandemic include a new appreciation for the need for rural farmers and smallholders who support household food security. It also includes an appreciation for the critical importance of agricultural logistics within the country, as well as exporting from it.
She says due to the ageing cohort of agricultural workers and producers, more young people need to invest in agriculture.
“As young people, both in and outside the agricultural sector, you need to engage and find solutions on how to grow a vibrant agricultural sector that will continue to contribute to sustainable food security for the various countries and our continent, thereby reducing poverty and hunger.”
Other podcast highlights:
This week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also features useful tips and advice for farmers:
- Gun licensing 101: We chat to Mark Mulder, founder of gunlicence.co.za, to give us insight into getting a gun licence.
- Agri 101: This week’s agripreneur is Sibonginkosi Msipha, also known as Mama Bongi. Her chocolate chip cookies are so delicious, they are stocked at over a dozen retailers across the country.
- Winning awards: Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, salutes third generation agri worker, Audrey September, the 2021 Western Cape Prestige Agri Awards winner.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is “Lie of 1652” by Patric Tariq Mellet.
- Farmer’s tip of the week: Our farmer’s tip this week comes from Metsana Kojane, beekeeper and founder of Eden Roots in the North West.
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