IN­SECTS can play a vi­tal role in live­stock feed – ex­pert

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents -

Twenty-six agri­cul­ture grad­u­ates in the North­ern Cape will soon be get­ting their hands dirty with jobs in­tended to ex­pose them to prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in the field over the next two years.

Spokesper­son for the North­ern Cape Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Land Re­form and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Phemelo Manankong, said the grad­u­ates were be­ing placed in in-ser­vice train­ing po­si­tions in three of five dis­trict mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince. He said this had been fa­cil­i­tated through col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween govern­ment, com­mod­ity bod­ies, and or­gan­ised agri­cul­ture bod­ies.

About a dozen of the grad­u­ates would be placed in the dried fruit in­dus­try in the ZF Mg­cawu Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der the guid­ance of Dried Fruit Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices (DFTS). Ac­cord­ing to Si­mone Sell of DFTS in Uping­ton, who was help­ing to co­or­di­nate the ini­tia­tive, four of the stu­dents would join the or­gan­i­sa­tion to un­der­take in­dus­try re­search, while the re­main­der were be­ing placed with farm­ers or pack­houses.

She said DFTS was ini­tially ap­proached by the depart­ment to take on only one or two in­di­vid­u­als, but in­dus­try mem­bers saw value in ex­tend­ing the grad­u­ates’ in­volve­ment. Although DFTS had to move of­fices to ac­com­mo­date these new re­searchers, Sell said she be­lieved the ben­e­fits the or­gan­i­sa­tion would de­rive would be worth it.

Although many com­pa­nies were re­luc­tant to take on grad­u­ates due to the ini­tial in­vest­ment of time and re­sources re­quired, Sell said stu­dents would now be able to gain ex­pe­ri­ence, while in­dus­try mem­bers would have ac­cess to sub­sidised em­ploy­ees. Manankong said most of the other grad­u­ates would be placed with com­mer­cial agri­cul­ture role play­ers within the Pix­ley ka Seme Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Two of the grad­u­ates had al­ready started work at a rooi­bos tea pro­duc­tion plant near Nieu­woudtville in the Na­makwa Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Manankong said the grad­u­ates were paid a monthly stipend of R8 000 by the depart­ment. – Sab­rina Dean

Si­mone Sell

ABOVE: The grad­u­ates who will be work­ing in the dried fruit in­dus­try for the next two years are (from left): Brad­win Lester, Kristy-Lee Isaacs, Grace Dier­gaardt, Mthokozisi Sishuba, and Nthabiseng Ntukela.

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