At the opening of the 2016 academic year at Elsenberg Agricultural College, Joyene Isaacs, HOD, said while 2016 brings a number of great economic and climatic challenges to the forefront, it also brings a wealth of opportunities.
“I really do believe that 2016 is the year of the student! All of you sitting before me here today, will be the very young people that, in the near future, will lead our agricultural sector and take agriculture to a new level,” Isaacs said at the opening last week.
“We know in this Province, that one of the best investments this government can make, is in our youth. The Western Cape has allocated R56.9m to the Structured Agricultural Education and Training programme for the 2015/16 financial year.”
“The future of agriculture must be protected and sustained and it is through places of learning such as Elsenberg, that we can continue to grow this agricultural economy, create competitive and innovative farming practices through new ideas, and bring passion and pride back to the agricultural sector.”
Project Khulisa has identified Agri-processing as a high-potential sector. Agri-processing holds particular potential to increase employment in rural areas. If it receives the dedicated attention and support, it could add up to 100 000 jobs and generate R26bn for the economy under a high-growth scenario.
“But we need the necessary training and skills that you will receive here at this college, together with a mind-set of innovation, to ensure that Agri-processing in the Western Cape remains competitive to current global markets,” Isaacs said.
“We have taken the language tensions and transformation issues at Elsenburg very seriously. A full team, of both management and the College Council, is engaged in finding sustainable solutions to overcome these issues in the interest of the future of agriculture and of our country. “