n South African Journal of Agricultural Extension - The need for a new generation of farmers and agriculturists in South Africa and the role of agricultural extension

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0301-603X
  • E-ISSN: 2413-3221


Agriculture remains an important sector in the South African economy. According to the Strategic Plan for South African Agriculture, it recognises the importance of the youth, emphasises the education and training of the youth, to ensure a new generation of farmers and agriculturists. The youth however show very little interest in agriculture, not only in South Africa, but worldwide and one of the challenges will be to change the negative image of agriculture among the youth. A research study among Grade 12 learners from 25 schools in the Limpopo Province was done and it revealed that learners performed very poor in the final exam and 66% failed. Clear indications were found that the learners overestimated their performance; incorrectly assessed their coping strength; the majority (65%) were repeating the subject; there was a total lack of practical classes; the attitude of fellow learners (peer group) towards learners taking agricultural science was negative. Agricultural Science was perceived as unimportant to further their career and only 43% took the subject out of own choice. Teacher quality, knowledge, attitude and their enthusiasm were perceived by the learners as insufficient and negative.

It is suggested to address the problem by means of a coordinated effort by all role players in agriculture. Agricultural extension services and extension workers need to take the initiative and play a pivotal role. Proposals included to create and establish coordination and collaboration structures and linkages between all role players, including farmer organisations; agricultural education and training programs need to be implemented from primary school level upwards and be integrated into the school curriculum; the development and implementation of in-service education and training programs for teachers; support teachers with practical classes and ensure that extension workers are empowered and enthusiastic to participate in school and other projects and by doing so develop a new generation of young enthusiastic farmers and agriculturists for South Africa.

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