The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship has a focal point of five sectors namely: Agriculture, Education, Information Technology, Enterprise Development, and Life Skills.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought sudden desire for agricultural production by many communities. This, in fact, supports the old saying that “when economies are down, people go back to the land – agriculture”. SAIE quickly found the recipe to adapt to COVID-19 lockdown measures by increasing its agricultural activities in communities.
Over the years, beneficiaries of the SAIE agricultural programme had notably been matured individuals from rural and peri-urban areas of South Africa. Unfortunately, attempts to woe young people to join the programme had been a challenge. However, the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic and its lockdown measures saw many young people showing interest in food security issues. The Institute was inundated with requests from young people to participate in the Institute’s AgriPlanner programme.
The Institute responded positively to the requests and adjusted the programme approach by specifically targeting youth between 18 – 35 years with special interest in the agri-entrepreneurship programme. The organization felt the time was ripe to get young peoples’ interest in doing things for themselves through food production.
A total of 75 youth from the Philippi farm area (majority females) were taken through a three-month in agri-entrepreneurship training, followed by assistance with establishment of community gardens.
The three (3) main tenets of the agri-entrepreneurship programme are:
- Entrepreneurship training: teaching individuals to understand themselves as entrepreneurs.
- Technical Training: knowledge on what agriculture is about and production.
- Business Training: knowledge of agribusiness, marketing, and finance.
Programme evaluation indicated that trained young farmers have gained more skills to plan their garden operations more effectively, increased confidence in conducting business – market prospecting, negotiations, networking, and relationship building, as well as demonstrating the understanding of the economic value of land and potential of their enterprise.
Furthermore, the programme has helped to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of some of the young beneficiaries.
With the South African youth unemployment rate at 59%, attracting young people to the agri sector is noted as one of the critical and relevant ways of creating sustainable employment and reducing the poverty burden.
“The biggest mindset shift was that people were no longer looking for jobs, instead they were looking for land to start their own agribusiness journey.” – Ernest Boateng. SAIE Chief Operations Manager
For example, young participants from an informal settlement called Kampies are currently negotiating with their Councilor to secure land to start their production.
In view of this, the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship aims to bring more young people into food production, helping them understand the value of land.
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