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Self-employment Opportunities & Skills Development



South Africa needs more rural entrepreneurs

Start an agribusiness. Agriculture, also referred to as farming or animal husbandry, is the cultivation of livestock (raising domesticated species), crops and other life forms for food, bio-fuel, animal fodder, drugs and other products utilized to sustain and enhance human life; its development is defined by greatly different climatic conditions, cultures, and technologies. Industrial agriculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (organic agriculture). A remarkable shift in agricultural practices has occurred due to the introduction of new technologies, parallel to the practice of recycling nutrients through crop rotation and animal manure to prevent widespread ecological damage. Quality education and training for women and men is central to promote environmentally sustainable development. Since many rural people in the country do not have basic education, their access to technical and vocational training or other skills development is hampered.  There is also a general shortage of skilled farm-workers, including sugarcane cutters, fruit pickers, animal handlers and dairy parlour workers. Because modern farming is multi-disciplinary, a successful farmer must be competent in business and entrepreneurial skills or at least have a working knowledge of the following:

  • financial planning and management
  • marketing
  • negotiation
  • farm management
  • resource management
  • computers
  • processing and packaging
  • transport and national infrastructural resources
  • natural resources and environmental conservation
  • storage
  • adaptation to climate change
  • human resources and skills training
  • plant nutrition and growth
  • fertilization
  • diseases and pests
  • planting and harvesting
  • livestock production
  • recycling, re-using and reducing
  • mechanical, electrical and agricultural mechanics [woodworking, painting, welding)
  • production-related skills such as animal husbandry, poultry, crop production and horticulture
  • standard animal veterinary knowledge

Contact Theresa ( to produce a detailed research paper on any agricultural field (6,000 words) and create a corresponding business plan.

  • A publication, The Agri Handbook for South Africa opens up the whole agricultural value chain to its readers. This 672 page book explores all the key crops, livestock and inputs in the agricultural life-cycle. Added to this the marketing and finance aspects, how to use resources and good agricultural practice, relevant education and training, services, technologies and national issues. 

Business idea: Operate a mobile training business (managing units countrywide) to coach emerging farmers and workers on site, using the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) training method. Agri-Entrepreneurs who are experienced in the above disciplines could present practical coaching to ensure that emerging farmers (and farm laborers) are trained in the relevant skills. Skills development is a major set-back with respect to empowering emerging farmers due to poor quality public extension services. Current farmer training programs miss the mark by giving theory-based lessons in the classroom, rather than hands-on practical application in the field. While mentorship programs are well intentioned and have the capacity to motivate trainees, it is mostly limited to teaching production skills, whereas emerging farmers mostly need the practical know-how of computers, negotiation, management and marketing.

Contact Theresa ( to develop target-specific training manuals (Train-the-Trainer, Trainee Guide) and a Business Plan.

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