Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
17 May 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Agribusiness Transformation Programme
At the launch of the programme during Nampo 2019 were, from the leftt: Anton Nicolaisen, Provincial Head: Free State and Northern Cape, Standard Bank; Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS; Mangi Ramabenyane, General Manager, Farmer Support and Development at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Nico Groenewald, Head: Agri-Business at Standard Bank; and Bigboy Kokoma, farmer from Bothaville.


Bigboy Kokoma, a 33-year-old ‘young’ farmer, speaks with confidence and pride about his family farm in the Bothaville district. One hundred and forty-two hectares of land that has been in the Kokoma family since 2005 when his father established the farm. The farm specialises in livestock, mostly Bonsmaras, and vegetables. “I want to set an example to other young farmers and, through this, become an ambassador of inspiration to my generation.”

Bigboy has a Diploma in Financial Management. “Having this qualification is a step closer to understanding the financial management of the farm, but if you want to take the leap to become a commercial farmer, you need greater knowledge and understanding to get you there.”  He is excited to have been selected for the Agribusiness Transformation Programme, because this will bring him closer to his dream of becoming a commercial farmer, to contribute to the economy of South Africa, and it will assist him in taking his family legacy further.

He is one of 25 farmers in the country who was selected to take part in the Agribusiness Transformation Programme. The programme’s main objective is to develop black emerging farmers through structured, accessible, and relevant agricultural and entrepreneurship training in order to become economically viable commercial farmers that will have greater impact in the agricultural sector in the Free State.

Importance of agriculture

Globally, the agricultural sector faces multiple challenges: it has to produce food to feed an exponentially growing world population, with a smaller rural labour force, adopt more energy-efficient and sustainable production methods, manage limited natural resources and climate change, and contribute to socio-economic development. 
 
Agriculture is of fundamental importance, not only on a global scale, but also on the African continent; therefore, we are especially proud of the Agribusiness Transformation Programme that will, in the long run, enable 25 farmers to become productive and well-functioning agri-business contributors that provide solutions for the much-needed challenges in food security, job creation, and the development of agricultural products.
 
Value of strong partnerships

The programme is an initiative of the University of the Free State (UFS), Standard Bank, and the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. They believe that strong partnerships are needed in the development of black emerging farmers, and to drive change in the sector. What makes the partnership successful, is the multiple strengths and expertise that each partner provides.

The UFS has a strong Agricultural Sciences division, with experience in training farmers in formal undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as short courses.  The UFS Centre for Development Support has a solid record of developing entrepreneurs and university’s Innovation Office is at the forefront of technology transfer.

“The UFS is applying its strengths in education, training, innovation and technology transfer to ensure the development of these 25 farmers. We are excited to take the lead in this program and to ultimately contribute to a productive and well-functioning agri-business sector in South Africa. The impact of the programme is wide and the future brings possibilities of developing a model that will be replicated in the rest of South Africa and Africa,” says Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Standard Bank has strong expertise in financing the agricultural sector, stimulating enterprise development and SMMEs, and providing financial services to the public sector.  The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provides services to farmers who have access to land.

Programme launched at Nampo 2019

The programme was fittingly launched at Nampo on 15 May 2019, bringing together leaders in agriculture, business, the media, and influencers in the sector to engage and meet with the 25 farmers. The discussion at the launch again reiterated the importance of this programme and the level of skills transfer this partnership will mobilise.



News Archive

Ghanaian academic speaks about next generation of African scholars
2013-10-08

 

Attending the seminar were from left: Adv Erika Cilliers, Sisa Mlonyeni (both from the Office of the Public Protector), Prof Adomako Ampofo and Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of the Centre for Africa Studies.
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane
08 October 2013

Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo, one of the Centre for Africa Studies’newly-appointed advisory board members, addressed students and staff on 3 October 2013. Her topic Are you the scholar Africa needs?enthralled the audience with the passionate way in which she argued for nurturing activist-scholars rather than scholars who simply produce knowledge for the sake of it. “It is more urgent than ever before that … we do not simply see our roles as researchers and teachers, but that we are committed to impacting our communities” for the better – also by “making our knowledge production globally visible,” she argued. Africa is said to contribute less than 0.5 percent of the world’s scientific publications. The fact that most of these – and nearly all of the social science production – emanate from just three nations (Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa) means that many countries are absent from the radar.

According to her, the next generation of African scholars will have to compete within a hostile terrain where private universities are proliferating and costs of higher education are on the rise. These scholars will have to possess 22nd century skills, but a 20th century heart and sensitivity for the continent and its people.

Drawing on Kwame Nkrumah, Prof Ampofo proposed three guiding principles for becoming the scholars Africa needs. Firstly, by having a passion for knowledge as well as an Africa-centred knowledge – “nobody can tell our stories better than we can.”. Secondly, to translate our research into outputs not only in the form of internationally-recognised publications, but also in popular sources that will be read by a much wider public. And lastly, to carrying the torch for teaching and learning in the classroom – preparing our students to serve Africa or, as Nkrumah said, producing “devoted men and women with imagination and ideas, who, by their life and actions, can inspire our people to look forward to a great future.”.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo is a Professor of African and Gender Studies, and Director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. An activist-scholar, her current work addresses African knowledge systems; race, ethnicity and identity politics; gender-based expressions of violence; constructions of masculinities; women and work; and popular culture. She is currently co-editing a volume titled, Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender in Africa and the African Diaspora.In 2010, she was awarded the Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Activism Award.


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept