• Admin

Youth are the future!

Youth are our future, they need to be nurtured and be part of the conversations. The world will be theirs to be cared for, have sustainable methods of cultivating food and the use of sustainable energy. We need to give them skills to achieve these goals.

Farming as we know it, is changing in that we need to think about the whole cycle of the farm from the soil to the market and in-between such as how we will handle waste and generate energy. Farming methods such as vertical farming needs a smaller footprint, technology such as hydroponics and permaculture techniques are all profitable opportunities for youth to farm away from the conventional methods.

Photo taken from the Mhani Gingi website

There are so many qualified youth who are not employed because they cannot find jobs suited to their skills set. There are numerous young people who study at university and then find out that they are more suited to other careers. It is therefore important to assess the weaknesses and strengths of these young people so that they are guided into a career that becomes a life style that they can enjoy and not feel like its work but rather part of their life style. They need to collaborate with other farmers on all aspects of farming from the earth to the market each harnessing their individual strengths towards a common goal.

The concept of farming needs repackaged and the value chain disrupted by making it shorter with interventions of branding and marketing of the produce into the local communities these farmers can create their own markets closer to their land they can build trust and relationships with their customers this will eliminate high costs of transport and cut out many of the middle men supplying the consumer with a fresher and more affordable products. The youth are very used to life being driven by ICT they are able to communicate on various levels to make farming easier and informative. There are many ICT solutions for farmers to collaborate on various aspects of farming from market access to weather patterns and identifying various diseases of plants on the land especially for those in rural areas. Opportunities to reach many markets with FaceBook and Instagram gives the farmers benefits to engage directly with end users.

Thinking out of the box is essential and finding niche markets such as Lindelo Dlamini, 21, and Nomfunda Ngubane 26, who manage a 3ha farm in Ndwedwe in KZN where they grow geraniums for the essential oil market. Dlamini is currently studying biochemistry at University of Zululand and Ngubane has completed a marketing degree. They realised the importance of being in control of their own future. (Sunday Times May 2 2021).

As part of our Market Support Programme run by the African Agri Council, Debbie Payne, Director of Market Support interviewed two ladies who work at a Social Entrepreneurial Network, Mhani Gingi a non-profit organization that strives to provide innovative business solutions which are sustainable and profitable, and contribute towards alleviating poverty in South Africa.

Tabisa Mahlathi 32, is a site manager in Manenberg she finds farming healing. She encourages other youth to become involved in agriculture. She is constantly amazed at watching the plants grow at each stage. She is also privileged to not only sell and make an income but to eat organic healthy food. Tabisa suggests that there needs to be more awareness created around agriculture and suggests that it should be part of the curriculum at school. The lack of access to land especially for youth and women is one of the major challenges she says that they have to work twice as hard to prove themselves. Tabisa said, “South African agriculture is becoming the sunrise of our economy but there is a lack of involvement from the agriculture sector and support for youth to start farming.”

Photo taken from Daily Mail article of Tabisa Mahlathi, Site Manager at Mhani Gingi

About the Market Support Programme To any entrepreneur considering a food startup, we would ask two questions.

First, are you providing a product or service that answers a real need for consumers?

Second, are you and your investors prepared for the long haul both mentally and financially?

The startup that answers yes to both of those questions has a good shot at not only disrupting the food industry, but sticking around to reap the rewards. Market Support is a programme developed to support agrifood entrepreneurs with technical, operational and management capability as they aim to reach local, regional and international markets.

Market Support is a programme developed to support agrifood entrepreneurs with technical, operational and management capability as they aim to reach local, regional and international markets.

Our goal is to:

  • Capture and proactively engineer network effects for market access and value chain integration

  • Manage performance with a pragmatic growth mind-set

  • Develop robust investment strategies leveraging local and international context

The agriculture value chain universe covers hundreds of sub sectors serving myriad crops, livestock, processing activities, agriculture technologies (Agtech) and customer needs. These subsectors are exposed to broadly similar macro trends. Each, however, has unique supply, demand, and competitive situations. African agrifoods can scale by adapting offerings and business models to serve local and international markets – these are the businesses the programme will support; we encourage the combination of innovation with entrepreneurship to develop agribusiness across the continent.

About the African Agri Council NPC (AAC)

The African Agri Council NPC (AAC) is a non profit pan African institution that promotes the development of sustainable food and agriculture in Africa. We are a network of key stakeholders connected to Africa’s entire food and agriculture business value chain.

We work with governments, investors and project owners and developers to accelerate investment into bankable agricultural projects, and bring together food and agriculture buyers and sellers and with a focus on attaining and improving access to regional and international markets.

Our networking platforms bring together thousands of members, partners, government representatives, investors, consultants, technology providers, retailers, farmers, aggregators and traders to connect, share knowledge and together help grow Africa’s agricultural sector. For more information visit www.agricouncil.org.

We run four annual events including virtual events. These range in size from 400 to 950 participants. Our African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) held in Cape Town is now Africa's largest agribusiness and investment conference. The Investment Food Forum (IFF), Market Access Africa (MAA) and AFTI Summit have attracted a lot of interest from various stakeholders and partners. As a member, you will receive a discount off the registration fees of our events. Visit www.agricouncil.org to see our upcoming event dates and become a member.

For more information: Get in touch with Cindy Euston-Brown via email cindy.eustonbrown@agricouncil.org or go to www.aacmarketsupport or www.agricouncil.org.