Young people are increasingly turning to the agricultural sector to earn a living. Many aspire to be successful commercial farmers.
It’s a sector fraught with difficulties; prolonged droughts among them.
The agricultural sector is a key economic pillar. Thirty two year-old Kgomotso Bantsho quit his municipal job to become a full time farmer. Although he owns droves of goats, his speciality is Bonsmara cattle. However, Bantsho says that there are many challenges.
“We find it difficult to approach the banks to access funding, so funding is a major issue. We cannot improve the quality of our livestock, we cannot farm the way that we are supposed to farm. We cannot produce the quality that we need to produce.”
Other youngsters are still subsistence farmers on communal land, but they want to graduate to commercial farming.
“If we can have people to train us and also our youth, if they can go to school and study agriculture; I think they can take this industry by storm.”
Nineteen-year-old student at Potchefstroom Agricultural College, Thabo Dikgakwe, is one of the youngest local farmers. He has been in the sector for six years. He says his 300ha Constable farm is not sufficient for his ambitions.
“So the issue of land is actually one of the big problems, but with the big farm; you can actually explore. You can go into stud breeding, you can go into commercial farming; you can do a lot with big land.”
Most of the farms are locked in dry areas. Farm infrastructure is vitally needed to help their businesses grow. Livestock farmer, Christopher Nelson, says they need assistance with land and funding.
However, passionate and tireless, the farmers believe this sector can help mitigate poverty and boost employment.
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