Mzansi Agriculture Talk


BA-PHIRING youth embraces agriculture

Tucked around the luxurious Sun City lies a tribal community called the BAPHIRING, North West. Since the advent of democracy, this community has been caught in fierce legal battle over land restitution and finally won in 2015.

Nothing but mining seems to be an economic sanctuary for this 400 households with little or no future prospectus outside this mineral benefit.

At just 23, Sara Morobane, is one of the youths aiming to change the outlook of her community. She has enrolled in a 12-month AgriSETA accredited agricultural training programme, aimed at transferring agricultural skills to the youth cohort of the area.

“There’s nothing moving without mining and Sun City tourism. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I think we felt it, that our community has no other activity to offer other than the two” she said.

The agricultural training programme was pioneered by Siphiwe Zikalala, owner of Zvezda Game Resort in the North West.

“Here, we are focusing on liaising with traditional authorities across the province, to transfer skills knowledge in agriculture to their youth population so that they can no wonder around aimlessly.”

According to Zikalala, his NPO Zvezda Multi Skills and Rehabilitation Centre has been at the forefront of championing youth to opt for agriculture as a business skill.

Zikakala said: “We have placed before all resources necessary including using experienced agricultural facilitators. The 25 youth will be paid a stipend every month for the 12 months.”

The emphasis of the training will be twofold – theory and practical.

Katlego Khalo, training development manager from Liston Agricultural Solutions, said in his experience, he has seen rural youth yearning to do something different.

“The despair is always written in their eyes. Past the 12 months it becomes a different story as now the skill gained, they are able to plough back to their community and some even going as far as opening their own agricultural cooperatives.”

The BAPHIRING Youth will be trained on the production of sunflower, maize and soya beans.

“Agriculture is not new but passive to us. We are now taught the importance of feeding ourselves and working for ourselves. Without this training, I don’t think most of us will be taking agriculture seriously” said Sarah.

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