School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Youth Encouraged to Participate in Agriculture

Youth Encouraged to Participate in Agriculture

The uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) – which UKZN is a partner in – recently hosted the Reflections Workshop for young folk in Swayimane, Wartburg.

The URP is led by the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (uMDM) in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES).

Its goal is to build the resilience of small-scale farmers in the uMDM to climate change.

The workshop was conducted in partnership with the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) project, which aims to address linkages between agriculture, the environment and health.

It was hoped the workshop would enable the project team and stakeholders to actively engage and reflect in a discussion with the youth on project objectives, to reinstate the role of youths in the project, identify current youth goals and aspirations within the project scope, and develop a way forward so that project activities are more responsive to youth needs.

Mr Manelisi Ndaba of the uMDM welcomed guests and acknowledged the youth for taking initiative in agriculture and being active members of the project.

‘The workshop is a good opportunity for us to get to know the project team and share with them what we want to learn in agriculture,’ said one of the youth group members.

The project offers accredited training in business development and understanding of climate change. Mr Lindokuhle Khanyile of the uMDM, who is responsible for conducting the training sessions under Component 4 of the URP, highlighted the importance of ensuring that community members received training on approaches they could use to deal with the effects of climate change.

Project Co-ordinator Mr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi of SAEES concentrated his discussion on asking the youth to reflect on three questions: how they perceive agriculture, what they think their role in agriculture is, and what they need assistance with?

‘As the project team, our role is to ensure that we provide the necessary support for you to realise your dreams and aspirations within agriculture,’ said Mabhaudhi.

The workshop concluded with a discussion summarising the list of aspirations from the youth groups, the various kinds of training the URP can offer to address their needs, and a plan for encouraging continuous engagement and review of progress.

Words: Wendy Geza

Photograph supplied by Wendy Geza