Women in farming give youth a leg up in agriculture

Judging by the buzz in the room, the African Women in Agriculture team members can pat themselves on the back after hosting a successful training session for up-and-coming farmers

Gauteng farmers give youth a leg-up in agriculture

The African Women in Agriculture management team with twenty young people at an agricultural training session in Gauteng. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi.

A group of women in Gauteng have made it their life’s mission to expose the next generation of young entrepreneurs to agriculture. They are training young people who previously had no knowledge or interest in agriculture, as part of a bigger effort to unmask all the opportunities out there.

Earlier this week, the African Women in Agriculture hosted an agricultural incubator session during which young people in the province were shown the ropes on how to produce food organically.

The training, offered free of charge, saw 20 young people around Gauteng being equipped with agricultural knowledge that will last them a lifetime.

According to the organisation’s finance director, Agnes Hove, they are on a mission to train young people in agriculture as a way of getting them off the streets and giving them hope.

The sky is the limit

“Farming is key to our economy so involving young people is very important. This training give those with start-ups business ideas, and already operating businesses an opportunity to learn,” she says.

The farming organisation, based in Eikenhof, runs an agricultural incubator that is also currently training 11 women in agriculture. They also run a network for agripreneurs across Africa along with members of the agricultural value chain.

The African Women in Farming management seen with young people around Gauteng who wants to venture into farming and start contributing to food security. Picture: Supplied/ Food For Mzansi.

According to Hove, young people are facing similar challenges to those who have been working the agricultural fields of Mzansi for decades.

“Most young people face the challenge of access; whether it’s access to land or linkages to markets which is the biggest stumbling block.”

“However, that should not be the end. Young people need to just start, they must just do it. It is not easy but worthwhile. The joy of farming is just seeing the work of your hands coming into life, playing a role in food security,” she says.

‘We are ready to start farming’

During the session, participants were trained on how to grow their own food and how they could invest in the sector.

“We trained them on organic farming and how to navigate the sector. What we are doing is giving them seedling trays so that they can start immediately with farming activities,” Hove explains.

One of the participants, Michelle Marweshe from Ridgeway, says the training taught her all the basics she needs to know about farming and she hopes to starting farming soon.

Gauteng young people being trained on farming by the African Women in Farming where they were taught on agro-processing, the use of seedlings, access to markets and land. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

“We did a farm tour and practical work during our one-day training. I liked how we were trained and motivated on how to penetrate the market, to knock on all relevant doors.

“I thought starting a food gardening was a difficult task and they made it look so easy. It was an eye-opening experience which I will take further and participate in the food security value chain,” Marweshe says.

‘Energised and excited’

Another participant, Unathi Nkosi from the Vaal, says she attended the training with no prior experience of agriculture and left feeling energised and excited about farming.

“I have learnt how to do my own compost, agro-processing and all that I need to give me a start in my journey into farming. I have decided to go study agriculture. Obviously, it is my first time getting exposed to this, so I have not decided what exactly, but I am hooked,” she says.

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