This June, Food For Mzansi and FarmSol call on young farmers across South Africa to re-imagine the future. FarmSol managing director Aron Kole argues that Youth Month is a vivid reminder of the youth’s potential to revitalise agriculture.
At FarmSol, we add value in various ways beyond our direct contribution to the economy. Amongst others, we support farmers with mentorship, unlock access to funding and enable smallholders to find a route to market for their produce.
With an average age of over 60 years, established farmers play a major role in ensuring food security in South Africa. It is, however, time that we bring the youth onboard for a fresh perspective and new approach towards the future.
Youth Month, celebrated annually in June, is a vivid reminder that our sustainable connection to the future as a sector lies in the potential of our youth.
Farming should no longer be a profession only entrusted to senior or older farmers, but a place where the youth feels welcome and supported to grow into farmers contributing to the economy of the country.
Our FarmSol Youth Ambassador desk aims to provide much-needed inspiration and support to many young aspirant farmers. This could be a long and lonely road, but if travelled together with industry partners, success that guarantees our future and those of generations to come is assured.
The farming population across the world is ageing, also in South Africa.
Most young people seem to also prefer careers or businesses in other sectors, either because of negative associations and stigmas associated with the industry or because they are ill informed of all the opportunities and new developments in the industry.
FarmSol aims to address this. We raise awareness of the benefits of agricultural production and its ability to transform communities, as well as the way in which production has changed thanks to new technological developments.
The company also aims to reduce barriers to entry by empowering young farmers with production loans, mentoring and skills transfers and access to production technologies.
Since last year, FarmSol also appoints a Youth Ambassador annually. This young farmer empowers and creates awareness of opportunities for young people in agriculture. They also highlight the issues and struggles that are preventing young farmers from reaching their full potential.
In 2020, Njabulo Mbokane, who farms on leased land in Ermelo and Lothair in Mpumalanga, was appointed as the first FarmSol Youth Ambassador. This, after she had won the 2019 SAB FarmSol Young Emerging Farmer of the Year Award.
Happy Youth Month, South Africa.
Be worth the commitment for the country.