Agriculture is a significant economic activity in KZN and provides livelihoods for thousands of people. The most significant agricultural activities include Forestry, Sugarcane, Vegetables, Maize, Beans, Dairy, Beef, Sheep and Poultry. These primary activities result in many more economic activities along the value chain which include input supplies, transport/logistics, agroprocessing and retail.
The vast natural resources of KZN coupled with Provincial and National policies (viz. Agricultural Policy Action Plan/APAP and respective Growth and development plans) presents opportunities for youth to participate in the Agricultural sector.If you are motivated towards a career in Agriculture; be it as a farmer, scientist, economist or advisor, there are various channels available to achieve your dreams.
With our focus on KZN, we need not look further than the 2 Agricultural colleges (Cedara near Pietermaritzburg and Owen Sitole near Empangeni) in the Province which offer National Diplomas in Agriculture. Cedara also offers a B. Agric degree in partnership with UKZN. These two Colleges offer an appropriate mix of theory and practical exposure, especially for budding farmers. More information on the Colleges and their programmes can be obtained from the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website: www.kzndard.gov.za
Other institutions offering Agricultural qualifications include the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) which offers a BSc. Agriculture, Mangosuthu and Durban Universities of Technology which offer National Diplomas. More information regarding the programmes caTI be obtained from the respective websites.
It should be noted that the Qualification and field of study you choose to pursue is very important, especially if you want to seek employment after studying as opposed to going into farming. The employment opportunities are scarce for many graduates. This is one of the reasons that the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries offers bursaries for a limited number of “scarce skills” study fields. These and other bursary opportunities can be obtainedfrom http://www.bursaries2016.co.za/agricultureenvironm ental-science/
In order to enhance the employment opportunities and employability of graduates, there are a number of programmes that have been implemented by Government. These include graduate placement and internships. Details of these programmes can be obtained from the KZNDARD, DAFF and DRDLR (Department of Rural Development and Land Reform) websites, amongst others.
For farmers and farm workers, there are many short courses and learnerships that are available in KZN. The Agricultural Colleges offer these courses (at different levels) on a scheduled and ad hoc basis. (See KZNDARD website for details). There are many other training service providers that offer short courses. A list of these can be obtained through the AGRISETA website (www.agriseta.co.za) .
There are many opportlmities and options available! Choose wisely while following your heart so that you may have a successful future and contribute to food security, environmental sustainability and economic benefit in your Locality, Province and Country.