As the country wraps up youth month, young people from Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal are making their mark in agriculture through sheep farming. Agriculture remains one of Africa’s biggest economic drivers.

With youth unemployment at an all-time high, ageing farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming methods, engaging youth in agriculture becomes a priority and it is taking off in Nquthu.

Young people are being exposed to sheep farming, concentrating mainly on wool production.

“Our main focus is grooming young people into wool growing. We already have five young people that we are teaching how to cut wool from sheep,” says Thandabantu Wool growers’ Tshepang Molefe.

Wool grower Xolani Buthelezi says: “It creates employment for us and we learn a lot about sheep and wool growing as a business.”

It is these projects which have attracted government’s interest. R45 million has been set aside to boost sheep farming in Nquthu for meat, wool and leather.

“We want to start a project on sheep farming with all the products that come with it. We will also start a huge project for women which will focus on mushroom farming,” says KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Rural Development Themba Mthembu.

The Eastern Cape leads in sheep wool production. KwaZulu-Natal is at the bottom of the ladder but young people from Nquthu hope to change that.