By Kara van der Berg
Ladismith. – Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit recently held a four-day long seminar themed the Kannaland Youth Week to introduce young people from Ladismith and surrounding communities to career possibilities in agriculture.
Chris Krone and Christine Bombal from Agri Management Africa hosted the seminar on behalf of Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit. They spoke about different aspects of agriculture, including various job opportunities, finance models, and personal life and career choices.
Various speakers spoke to the attendees about the value agriculture as an industry holds. The line-up of speakers included: Jandre Human (South Cape Vineyards), Karien Bezuidenhout (Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit; Cape Flora), Darryl Hess (Ladismith Cheese), Adrian Olivier (Ostrich Business Chamber), Leeroy Fourie (Engedi Haven), Adéle Changuion (Agri Western Cape) and Leonard Diederichs (Ethics and Leadership Institute).
The attendees were encouraged to actively participate in the discussion and ask questions. One of the themes was how to stay relevant in the workforce – specifically agriculture – as the world relies more heavily on technology. “It’s important to constantly grow your knowledge,” said Krone. “Make yourself indispensable by knowing a lot.” Hortgro Dried Tree Fruit Manager, Karien Bezuidenhout, told participants that agriculture is the backbone of our country. “I love agriculture. It has so many opportunities for our country.”
A major focus was to show the participants that there are alternative jobs in agriculture to being farm workers, such as roles in packhouses, exports, offices, and cellars. One of the participants, Nicolette Nel, says she now realises there are jobs in agriculture other than just on farms. “It’s nice that people outside of Ladismith came to give a different perspective. I am excited about the prospects of working in the wine industry or getting an office job.” Another participant, Kelly-Ann Nel says it was interesting to learn about different opportunities in agriculture. “There are so many opportunities in agriculture I didn’t even know about. It makes me think differently about the future.”
Most of the attendees were young adults who had yet to find permanent employment. “There are very few opportunities for young people in Ladismith,” said Kelly-Ann Nel. “Work is scarce and most of it is just seasonal. So, finding out about things we knew nothing about is of great value to us.” The participants suggested that in the future industry should include scholars in seminars such as these. “I think school learners should know about these opportunities, as early as possible, so that they know what subjects to take and what route to follow,” said Nicolette Nel.
Caption: Darryl Hess from Ladismith Cheese spoke about the value chain prospects in agriculture. (Picture: Christine Bombal.)