More investment is needed in the South African agricultural sector if it is to reach its full potential, says North West Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro.
“Every conversation around agriculture at the moment asserts that this is a sector that plays a critical role in the economy of many developing countries. In South Africa, as in many of these developing countries, the contribution that agriculture makes to efforts of employment is well documented,” said the Premier.
Speaking at the Potchefstroom College of Agriculture graduation ceremony recently, Mokgoro said about six million people’s livelihood is dependent on agriculture.
“This is about 10% of the South African population,” Mokgoro said, noting that agriculture is inextricably linked to key government priorities such as food security, exports and the foreign exchange.
At the ceremony also attended by acting MEC for Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ), Dr Mpho Motlhabane, Mokgoro congratulated the 49 students who successfully completed their three-year diploma in mixed agriculture.
He assured them of opportunities in the sector.
“We remain adamant that the agricultural sector carries dynamic opportunities that present an upper hand to any young person who is passionate about it. The evolution of technology has made it even far [more] stimulating to be part of this sector,” he said.
The college is one of two State-owned colleges in the North West tasked with training young people with a passion for agriculture.
The college has for the 2019 academic year registered 79 first-year students, an improvement on previous years’ registrations. The READ Department has for the year 2018/19 budgeted R46 million to support both the Taung and Potchefstroom Agricultural Colleges.
Meanwhile 22-year-old graduate, Keabetswe Jiyane, said her love for land and farming started early in high school.
“… We have life because of agriculture. I wanted to discover the mystery behind the significance of soil and what it can produce. I pursued my studies because through knowledge, one discovers that the potential in this industry cannot be compared with any other,” said Jiyane.