‘This is only the beginning – let every opportunity count’

AFASA Youth chairperson Keatlegile Mnguni with AFASA chairperson Neo Masithela. Photo: Funiwe Ngwenya/Food For Mzansi

AFASA Youth chairperson Keatlegile Mnguni with AFASA chairperson Neo Masithela. Photo: Funiwe Ngwenya/Food For Mzansi

Let today be a day that encourages and inspires new ideas; that see young farmers ready to face the industry with an enhanced perspective on how they will grow in their agribusinesses and add value to the agriculture sector.

Keatlegile Mnguni, chairperson of AFASA Youth, expressed this hope to young farmers across Mzansi attending this year’s Annual AFASA Young Farmers Summit.

The summit kicked off in Boksburg, Gauteng this morning (Thursday, 25 November 2021) and is set to continue into tomorrow. The event is sponsored by the French Embassy, Santam, Standard Bank and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).

It is widely regarded as an opportunity for young farmers to connect and network with other stakeholders, and to return to their life’s work rejuvenated.

Highlights from 2021

During 2021, AFASA Youth have partnered with the German development agency GIZ on a connected farmers programme. The aim is to collect information on 1 000 farmers to develop the AFASA cloud-based database through fieldworkers.

They have also hosted a thematic workshop for provincial youth leaders in skills and personal development, stakeholder relations and engagement with project management.

Another highlight was a CSIR agro-processing tour, while they have managed to secure a memorandum of understanding with the CSIR to assist farmers with processing their own products using CSIR facilities, to receive training in health and safety compliance, and to gain technical skills in processing.

Three young women were trained in agri-entrepreneur leadership at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, coached by thinking fusion AFRICA and sponsored by Standard Bank.

An exchange programme between France and South Africa also saw three delegates from AFASA representing the youth at a livestock summit in France.

Words of wisdom

Neo Masithela, AFASA chairperson, shared some words of wisdom on networking with the youth farmers of Mzansi. “If you don’t have generational integrations in the industry, you will not be able to sustain food security in this country.”

He added that technological development is one of the critical things that young farmers should harness. “I am asking you as young people to challenge us to work in that space.”

As Mnguni welcomed the audience, she said, “I hope you realise there are many ways to be involved in the value chain. This is the beginning. It’s only going to get better. Let every opportunity count.”

ALSO READ: ‘Young farmers of Africa, step up to feed the continent!’

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