Empowering Small-Scale Farmers Through Education
Dr. Innocent Sirovha is the chief executive of AgriSETA
Growing up in the Venda district of Limpopo, I witnessed first-hand the challenges that small-scale farmers face. I saw how difficult it was for them to make a living and provide for their families. But I also saw their resilience and determination to succeed despite the odds.
I believe in the power of agriculture to change lives for the better, and even as a child, I witnessed the transformative power of agriculture as a means of not only survival but self-sufficiency. My family, like most others in the area, struggled with poverty and limited access to resources such as education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
As I grew older, I became increasingly aware of the poverty and inequality that permeated our community. I saw the severe impact of limited access to education and jobs. However, I was determined to overcome these barriers through education.
Education is the key
These experiences sparked a passion within me for education and the upliftment of small-scale farmers, in particular. I knew that education was the key to not only unlocking my own potential, but helping them build sustainable businesses that could support their families and communities.
That is why I am so proud to lead AgriSETA, an organisation that is dedicated to creating and promoting opportunities for social, economic, and employment growth for agri-enterprises through relevant, quality, and accessible education, training, and development.
Our scope covers the agricultural sector from input services of the farm, activities on the farm, and the first-level processing activities from the farm. We are responsible for the skills development of the agricultural workforce, employed and unemployed, under the Skills Development Act.
Through our work, we have witnessed how education and training can change the trajectory of small-scale farmers. By providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, we are empowering them to take control of their futures and build sustainable, thriving businesses that support their families and communities.
But despite our efforts, there is still much work to be done. Many small-scale farmers in South Africa continue to struggle due to a lack of access to education and training. We must do more to ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed.
Education is the key to unlocking the potential of small-scale farmers in South Africa, empowering them to succeed and contribute to the growth of the agriculture sector.
Helping agribusinesses grow
One of the biggest challenges that small-scale farmers face is a lack of access to markets. Without a reliable market, it is difficult for them to sell their produce and make a profit. That is why AgriSETA is committed to not only providing education and training but also helping small-scale farmers access markets.
Through our work with stakeholders in agriculture, we are helping small-scale farmers connect with buyers and markets. By providing them with access to markets, we are helping them build sustainable businesses that can support their families and communities. Another challenge that small-scale farmers face is a lack of access to finance.
Of course, without access to finance, it is difficult for them to invest in their businesses and grow.
Leading the way through learning
AgriSETA facilitates the implementation of learning through learnerships, skills programmes, adult education and training, tertiary studies, or in-service training by allocating grants and bursaries. We also support apprentices, interns, and mentorships.
To ensure the quality provision of education and training, we are also responsible for accrediting sector-specific training providers and for monitoring the standard of training presented. This is a duty we don’t take lightly.
By investing in the education and training of small-scale farmers, we are not only helping them build sustainable businesses, but also contributing to the development of the country’s economy.
We cannot afford to overlook the potential of small-scale farmers in South Africa. They are the backbone of our agricultural sector, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their success and change the dynamic from small-scale farmers to commercial farmers – a mantra I shall continue to chant.
Article Source: https://www.foodformzansi.co.za
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