AGRICULTURE NEWS - A total of 120 agricultural graduate interns were placed at major agricultural host farms and entrepreneurial entities in the Western Cape to complete a two-year internship.
Their placement forms part of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's graduate programme that aims to increase employability of agricultural graduates through on-the-job experience.
Western Cape Agriculture Minister Dr Ivan Meyer said this initiative is in line with two priorities of the Agriculture Department - structured education and training, and farmer support and development. The interns all have an agricultural related qualification.
“The initiative targets qualified unemployed graduates in agriculture who want to venture into entrepreneurial projects related to agriculture. The key placement areas are livestock rearing and poultry production, horticulture/crop production, aquaculture production, viticulture, agro-processing, agricultural extension and agricultural economics,” said Meyer.
One such graduate intern who has benefited from the programme is Asiphe Kamte. He said his willingness to learn through his internship has resulted in him being able to take up a position with the Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber.
Meyer said a critical component of the graduate programme is identifying experienced mentors such as Trevor Abrahams. Abrahams said he enjoys sharing his farming experience. "It’s about teaching our interns the value of knowing every tree, every sheep and every cow on the farm. Sharing our knowledge and experience is fulfilling to both us and our graduates. It is also about the future of agriculture.”
Meyer said the internship creates a pool of future farmers/entrepreneurs among young people and reduces youth unemployment. “We must provide a platform for the active participation of youth in the agriculture value chain and create an enabling environment to support the establishment of youth owned and/or managed enterprises.
"The Western Cape Government has identified three key priorities namely, safety, jobs and dignity and well-being. The placement of graduate interns is a direct response to these three priorities. We are investing in youth development in agriculture as the future is driven my innovation, technology, big data and research. Our farmers in the Western Cape are sharing their practical, hands on experience to contribute to creating a bigger pool of professional farmers to work the land #ForTheLoveOfAgriculture.”
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