As South Africa commemorates Youth Day, and the contribution of South Africa’s youth to the fight for freedom, SA Canegrowers also celebrates the efforts of today’s youth who are charting a new course in the agricultural sector.
With the recent graduation of a second class from the SA Canegrowers internship programme in 2022, the industry can be proud of its work to empower the youth and create space for a new generation of farmers.
The internship programme was initiated by SA Canegrowers in 2019, in partnership with the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), and funded through the sugar industry’s transformation fund, with the goal of equipping aspiring young farmers with both the practical and theoretical knowledge they need to build bright futures in the industry.
The programme takes in ten interns between the ages of 18 and 35 for a two-year period.
Interns are placed with commercial sugarcane farmers for the duration of the programme in order to gain practical experience while simultaneously receiving training from SASRI. At the end of the programme, interns graduate with not only greater experience and knowledge, but also with a formal qualification. SASRI’s Senior Certificate Course includes modules in Farm Planning and Management, Environmental Management, Irrigation and Sugarcane Husbandry.
The programme has proven especially effective at opening doors for aspiring black farmers, evenly divided by gender and spanning a broad range of educational levels. It is a testament to the exceptional support provided by SA Canegrowers’ staff and SASRI that all the interns to date have passed the programme with flying colours.
It is also encouraging that in both the 2019 and 2021 intakes, the programme was over-subscribed in terms of the number of farmers willing to host and train interns. This enthusiasm for developing young talent is also reflected in the 80% success rate at placing graduates in full-time employment.
With the SASRI graduation ceremony having taken place at Kwashukela and only six months of the programme remaining for the current class, we look forward to the imminent opening of applications for a new class of interns for 2023.
SA Canegrowers is proud of the commitment the interns have shown to their studies and to building their futures in the industry. We will continue to support the next generation of farmers as the internship programme continues and grows.
Caption: The class of 2022 – SA Canegrowers’ interns gathered at the organisations headquarters to receive their graduation certificates