INSECTS can play a vital role in livestock feed – expert
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
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.