Women farmers give young people a head start in agriculture

A group of women in Gauteng are on a mission to introduce the next generation of young entrepreneurs to farming. They are training young people who previously had no knowledge or interest in agriculture, as part of a larger effort to unmask all the opportunities that exist.

At the start of the week, the African women in agriculture hosted an agricultural incubator session where youth across the province learned the ropes of how to produce organic food.

The training, offered free of charge, provided 20 young people from Gauteng with agricultural knowledge that will last them a lifetime.

According to the organisation’s financial director, Agnes Hove, their mission is to train young people in agriculture in order to get them off the streets and give them hope.

Sky is the limit

“Agriculture is key to our economy, so involving young people is very important. This training gives those who have start-up business ideas and are already running businesses an opportunity to learn,” she says.

The agricultural organization, based in Eikenhof, runs an agricultural incubator which is also currently training 11 women in agriculture. They also manage an agripreneur network across Africa with members of the agricultural value chain.

The leadership of African women in agriculture seen with young people around Gauteng who want to get into farming and start contributing to food security. Photo: Supplied/ Food for Mzansi.

According to Hove, the young people face challenges similar to those who have worked in the agricultural fields of Mzansi for decades.

“Most young people face the challenge of access; whether it is access to land or links to markets that is the biggest stumbling block.

“However, this should not be the end. Young people just have to start, they just have to do it. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. The joy of farming is just seeing the work of your hands come to life, playing a part in food security,” she says.

“We are ready to start farming”

During the session, participants were trained on how to grow their own food and how they could invest in the sector.

“We trained them in organic farming and navigation in the area. What we do is give them seedling trays so they can start farming immediately,” says Hove.

One of the participants, Michelle Marweshe from Ridgeway, says the training taught her all the basics she needs to know about farming and she hopes to start farming soon.

Young people in Gauteng are trained in agriculture by African women in agriculture where they were educated on agribusiness, use of seedlings, access to markets and land.  Photo: Supplied/Food for Mzansi
Young people in Gauteng are trained in agriculture by African women in agriculture where they were educated on agribusiness, use of seedlings, access to markets and land. Photo: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

“We did a farm tour and practical work during our one-day training. I liked how we were trained and motivated to enter the market, to knock on all the relevant doors.

“I thought starting a vegetable garden was a difficult task and they made it so easy. It was an eye-opening experience that I will delve into and participate in the food security value chain,” says Marweshe.

“Energized and Excited”

Another participant, Unathi Nkosi from Vaal, says she attended the training with no previous farming experience and left full of energy and enthusiasm for farming.

“I learned how to make my own compost, agro-industry and everything I need to embark on my journey to agriculture. I decided to go to study agriculture. Obviously, this is my first exposure to it, so I haven’t decided what exactly, but I’m hooked,” she says.

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