PRESERVING LOCAL FARMING THROUGH SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Mr Mnweba, a local Noupoort sheep farmer with a passion for agriculture and youth development, is working to preserve the Noupoort farming legacy. He has devised a training programme for young, aspiring farmers, which is designed to ignite a love for this essential work and provide skills needed to run a profitable business in agriculture.
In support of his vision, Noupoort Wind Farm began funding Mr Mnweba in 2020, as part of their Enterprise Development Programme, which aims to assist and accelerate the sustainability of local farming enterprises. To date, he has received financial support to purchase stock, and more recently was granted additional funding to train four local youth, over a period of six months.
“Very few of the youth who matriculate have the means to pursue higher education. Many succumb to negative social influences and become part of the unemployment statistics. A viable route to employment and SMME development is involving the youth in agriculture, where local farmers can act as mentors. Historically Noupoort has always been a town rich in agriculture, so it is important to keep that legacy alive,” said Noupoort Wind Farm Economic Development Manager, Sandisiwe Mntonintshi.
Inspired by his love for farming and wanting to upskill youth in this Northern Cape community, Mr Mnweba began his training programmes four years ago, as a way to curb the high unemployment and poverty rates. He runs five programmes in a year, employing eight to ten participants over a period of ten days. He currently has four young people understudying him in his sheep farming operation.
“The purpose of my project is to cultivate a love for agriculture among black youth and to encourage some form of education through agriculture. A lot of the youth are heavily dependent on SASSA grants. I hope to give them a skill that will enable them to be independent.”
The agricultural sector is essential for fostering economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving food security. It has the potential to become a key economic contributor to the area, where residents are currently buying-in their meat, fruit, and vegetables from surrounding towns.
“The town is blessed with rich soil and residents who are knowledgeable in farming, and the vast number of unemployed youths who need educational opportunities provide an excellent fit for our Asset Based Community Development Programme, with the goal to reduce food scarcity and end social challenges, including hunger and substance abuse in our town,” concluded Mntonintshi.