‘Bring youth back into agriculture’ – Pienaar

To get the younger generation back into the agricultural sector and ensure they make a positive contribution towards feeding their own and the world was the 64-million-dollar question Schalk Pienaar of Pupkewitz Holdings tried to answer as guest speaker at last week's 31st annual congress of the Agricultural Employees Association.

Pienaar said farming is not just about working. It should also be fun mixed with sweat and sometimes tears but farmers should know their worth and the valuable contributions they make towards the economy, job creation and emplyment, he notes.

He said young people see farming as very labour intensive, and that it is too much of a struggle to employ skilled workers on farms so far removed from the bright lights of towns.

They must however realise the importance of agriculture and the huge demand on food supply, especially in Africa. Our continent has the highest number of children (5.2 per woman) in the world and in our case we have to strive even harder than anyone else to get the youth involved in agriculture, which is the breadbasket of almost all African countries and the biggest job supplier in Namibia.

He says it is good that currently the emphasis is on leadership development but he stresses that much more needs to be done on the social front. We must focus on equality, relationships, autonomy and good management and create environments for young people to sense the attraction of farming, he observes, adding that young people seek ownership in these times when life is one fat rat race. Thus the need to look at ways of improving the status of employees and make them feel welcome and more important than just being farm workers, so that they have some sense of security and optimism about the future.

Congress supported this fully, noting that elderly farm owners should make sure they hand over their farms to children timeously to ensure they have ample opportunities to prove their worth as farmers.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia