Caption: Pictured at Graduation and Gala Dinner for the Young Farmers Development Programme are students who recently returned back from Denmark after finishing their training in Livestock Management. Flanked by graduates, from left are: Mr Mduduzi Mfusi, Acting Head of Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Tshitshi Mbatha, Board Chairperson for the Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) and Dr Thulasizwe Mkhabela, Acting Chief Executive Officer for the ADA. The gala dinner and graduation ceremony was organised the ADA in honour of the students who have finished their studies successfully.
Sixteen students who have completed a training programme in livestock management and value addition in the agribusiness sector are planning to use the expertise they acquired in Denmark to grow the country’s agricultural sector and ensure food security.
“We wish to use the knowledge, competences, skills and experience acquired in critical production commodities, such as dairy, cattle, pig and crop production to improve the agricultural sector as well as ensure food security in our beloved province of KwaZulu Natal and South Africa at large,” said Mzwandile Sibiya, a beneficiary of the Young Farmers Development Programme.
The programme is an initiative of Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) KZN in collaboration with Dalum Landbrugsskole, Academy of Agricultural Business in Denmark.
The students were trained for 1 year at the largest and oldest agricultural college in Denmark, the Dalum College. They are the third group from the province to successfully complete the programme in record time. As a result of the training, the students have decided to organise themselves into a multiservice agricultural co-operative (AGRIDALUM CO-OPERATIVE) which will primarily focus on production in the agriculture sector, consultancy and training.
The vision for the co-operative is to transform black subsistence farmers to commercial farmers.
“We are willing to work with the KwaZulu Natal Department of Agriculture and other relevant stakeholders to help transform the sector and drive the vision of agriculture forward.
“We want our presence and visibility in the agricultural sector to motivate and mobilize the youth to enter the agricultural sector as it has a lot of opportunities,” Sibiya said.
In an effort to unlock the agricultural potential of the province, which is one of the largest in the country, the students have applied a system thinking approach towards a problem solving model.
They will identify and provide solutions to a number of challenges within the sector which span from high input costs, volatile climatic conditions and insufficient technical knowledge.
The programme has been implemented in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), KZN DARD Strategic Plan (2015-2022) and the Strategy for Agrarian Transformation in KwaZulu-Natal.
It is aimed at developing youth that will become champions of an ideal, integrated and inclusive rural economy that will yield job creation, economic growth, and alleviate poverty through sustainable agricultural practices.
This partnership between the KwaZulu-Natal government and Denmark will strengthen the province’s capacity for agribusiness and value addition (agro-processing).
During the training, students were exposed to various new agricultural technologies and methods of sustainable agriculture.
The Danish agricultural sector has vast international agricultural and agribusiness experience since 20% of Danish production is performed abroad.
Denmark has valuable knowledge and experience in advanced technology, animal welfare systems, food safety systems, traceability certification, farm waste management and alternative energy technology.