Not enough young people in South Africa see significant opportunities or appeal in the agricultural sector.
A need for black farmers to pave the way
Economist Theo Vorster says there are many black agricultural students in rural areas, however there is a lack of commercial black agriculturists that precede and inspire them.
We need black, commercial, successful agriculture role models that [others can] aspire to follow.— Theo Vorster, economist and CEO of Galileo Capital
Vorster explains that many young black people see farming as a means of food security and sustenance, instead of as a lucrative and specialised entrepreneurial business opportunity.
We need to get that aspirational element into the black community... To see it as a career. Farming needs to be something that one aspires to be.— Theo Vorster, economist and CEO of Galileo Capital
Tapping into the right talent in agriculture
Prudence Motseo is the HR manager for leading agricultural firm AFGRI and says the sector needs to focus on the skills transfer from traditional farmers to youth.
Motseo explains that young people have the innovative solutions to transform the sector and says there are various opportunities for a range of expertise - not just farmers.
Young people need to broaden their minds in not thinking of being a farm worker of a farm owner.— Prudence Motseo, HR Systems and Admin Manager at AFGRI
There are many careers in the space that can be harnessed by young people. You can find strategists, IT technicians, business development managers who work in the background to make sure that farmers are successful.— Prudence Motseo, HR Systems and Admin Manager at AFGRI
Is farming for old folk?
Meanwhile, AgriSA's Christo van Rheede says the aging demographic of farmers is a global phenomenon, but can be changed in the country.
He says that farming colleges are not doing students justice, but have the potential to produce the best young farmers in the world.
There's no excuse for us not to produce young farmers. We do have the right infrastructure. It's just a matter of good governance, management and the right curriculum.— Christo van Rheede, Deputy Executive Director at Agri SA
Presenter Eusebius Mckaiser hosted a special live broadcast on the future of agriculture from GrainSA's Nampo Harvest Day 2017 with contributions from various callers.
Take a listen to the insightful discussion:
WATCH: Eusebius Mckaiser reflects on Nation in Conversation discussion