Student Testimonial: Samson Machete

The Metropolitan Collective Shapers initiative in Limpopo, in partnership with i3A, has left participating local farmers in excitement and ready to take on the agri business world with boldness!

Read the testimonial of Samson Machete, a Collective Shaper from Mankweng, whose peanut butter business will be the talk of the town.

“Good morning. On 15th of March 2022, we celebrated our graduation day. I received my certificate for the course we did on agri business planning, agri marketing, farm budget, agricultural management, pest and diseases, permaculture, soil fertility and plant nutrition. I am proudly holding that certificate now😁👌🏼!”

“Attending the course helped me express and execute my business idea of producing peanut butter. I am currently waiting for approval from the laboratory today, and I’m also waiting for product development intervention form the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) as well as their certificate of approval.”

“Mr. Lammie, our facilitator from i3A, helped me with my agri business planning. I didn’t know anything about business planning before attending this course. After my business plan presentation, everyone was interested in my peanut butter, so much so that some of the judges bought my products… Most of which I had not yet put a price on.”

I would like to thank Lammie, our facilitator, for helping to shape my life in agri business, despite my constant calls and texts to ask for help regarding my assessments. Thank you for helping me.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank Metropolitan and i3A for bringing this program to Limpopo.”

Samson Machete, Metropolitan Collective Shapers Student

Samson Machete (bottom left), Metropolitan Collective Shapers Student
Photo credit: Metropolitan Collective Shapers




Agri Enterprises Comprehensive Mentorship Programme in Partnership with i3A

Agri Enterprises, the commercial arm of Agri SA, partnered in June 2021 with the International Agricultural Academy for Africa (i3A), in their Comprehensive Mentorship Programme (CMP).

The implementation of a Comprehensive Mentorship Approach through this development programme was successfully presented by Agri Enterprises to the AgriSETA towards the end of 2020 and related to the approval and signing of a funding agreement between the parties.

The objectives of the CMP are:

  • To further the implementation of projects and programmes identified in the National Development Strategy as National priorities.
  • To assist the AgriSETA more specifically to implement its Sector Skills plan, and
  • To conduct a research programme through collecting data and completing questionnaires on demographic information, household information, production data on the various enterprises with the aim to produce a high-level research report with recommendations to benefit the National Development Strategy.

The methodology and implementation strategy of this programme is based on “principles and tools” to be presented as hard-core industry knowledge that was never seen nor considered before in similar development programmes.

Outstanding success drivers of the programme were found in the following features:

  1. One of the most important efficiency drivers was found in the mental wellness programme as entry point of intervention. It was found to change the participants’ perspective on their real basic needs and realities.
  2. A Mentorship Approach based on the current realities of rural farmers in the micro- and macro economy of the specific industry.
  3. Hard core industry driven technical knowledge presented in professional manuals that forms a set of guidelines to be kept by participants as reference.
  4. A management and financial recordkeeping focus which confirmed the lack of technical and financial record keeping skills in the Agripreneurial field of production.
  5. Collection of comprehensive research data that will, on completion of the project, give new guidance and focus to the AgriSETA regarding the implementation of the National Skills Strategy.

The vision of the partnership between Agri Enterprises and i3A was aiming to implement a mentorship program curated specifically for non-commercial farmers to advance into successful Agripreneurs through business planning, financial management and leadership development.

Another primary focus included was to encourage industry knowledge, advocating for change and educating farm business owners in legal farm business entities. It is important to be involved in community uplifting projects, as well as facilitating the training of the farm labour force and creating governance teams in their respective farming communities.

Students and farmers were accepted into the programme and began training in cycles of 20 students per session. One of the students attending the programme said that it is “A great program! I would recommend it to other farmers as it gives us knowledge.”

Students after receiving their certificates at Zandukwane, Eastern Cape.

The induction of the mentorship started with an introduction of the Garcias for Africa programme, whose main goal is to assist students and farmers to strive for personal, mental and leadership efficiency in their farming journey, whilst understanding the current realities of the individuals’ mind as a human being as part of a community.

The mentorship and training programme also included theoretical and practical knowledge sharing on beef cattle production, wool and sheep production, boer goat and angora goat production. The practical portion of the training addressed animal production and management systems, handling practices, agricultural law, nutrition and feeding, wool and mohair classification, animal health and biosecurity, as well as the responsible meat, wool and mohair standards.

Participants were involved in the practical engagements and demonstrations and received their SAQA accredited Animal Production certificates upon completion of the program.

BKB, Santam, MSD Animal Health, NutriFeeds, Boergoat Genetics and the Mohair Empowerment Trust are some of the partners who were involved in the training of the students and have partnered with i3A in realizing the success of the program.

Angora goat and mohair practicals at Middleburg, Eastern Cape.

The mentorship was also offered to some reserve force members under the Koba Tlala foundation of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The objective was also to assist these farmers to obtain the necessary skills to emerge to agripreneurs and not to be solely dependent on the SANDF’s income as call up duties are not guaranteed on an annual basis.

Koba Tlala SANDF Reserve Force Members after completing their skills course in Beef Production, Potchefstroom, Northwest.

The final goal is to have mentored, trained and equipped 720 farmers when the project ends on 30 March 2022. To date, 704 farmers have been trained in the Eastern Cape, Northwest, Gauteng, Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape Provinces.

As part of the of the follow-up outcomes of the mentorship, the hope is to engage Local Municipalities, the National and Provincial Government Departments to help in developing the mentees as real commercial agricultural leaders in the livestock sector.

Facilitators, farmers, mentors, Agri Enterprises and i3A have been on a good journey to learning and discovering efficient ways to training, farming, exploring agri business as well as networking. The skills gap and the new wave of agricultural training that has been evident in this Mentorship programme, is now more than ever, considered as a crucial need to develop agriculture as an efficient economic driver.

Farmers and prospective farmers, young and old, need to be mentored and assisted into successful production in a variety of agricultural enterprises.

This is exactly wat this partnership agreement between Agri Enterprises and i3A is doing!

Metropolitan raises a new breed of Super Farmers – Collective Shapers!

One of South Africa’s largest licensed life insurers and licensed financial service providers, Metropolitan Life has built a reputation for being active in community development through the years.

By introducing the Metropolitan Collective Shapers programme, Metropolitan is raising the bar on farming in Polokwane. This platform will allow young people already farming or working in the agricultural sector to participate in a mentorship that is driven through efficiency drivers, agri-business concepts, financial record keeping, leadership and technical knowledge on horticultural production systems.

The objective of the Collective Shapers programme is to capacitate young farmers to become future farming leaders in Polokwane.

Our economy is based on agriculture, which is the primary job creator in the region. By partnering with Agri Enterprises and outsourcing the International Agricultural Academy for Africa (i3A) as implementing agent, Metropolitan aims at highlighting and reinforcing farming into a reliable source of income for young people who will be participating.

The selection process saw the screening of 20 participants from Polokwane, Limpopo, for the opportunity to be included in a programme that will give them the skills to succeed in agriculture.

Collective Shapers visiting the Limpopo Dairies farm and factory outside Louis Trichardt during the industry exposure week in Polokwane.

The Polokwane district of Limpopo is one of the nation’s premier agricultural regions noted for producing fruits and vegetables, cereals, tea, and sugar. The Limpopo Province also boasts abundant agricultural resources.

The Metropolitan Collective shapers initiative aims to create jobs and boost the economy of farming in the province by passing down knowledge and farming practices from generation to generation in horticulture, business development, marketing opportunities as well as related industry farm visits for exposure to the commercial farming scene.

i3A through their unique curriculum development strength, training style and academic edge, sets them apart with their offering of the programme. Through the unique Efficiency Drivers initiative, headed by the Garcias for Africa Programme, participants have seen a significant change in their view on how to farm, and how to approach their businesses with a smart and successful mindset.

As part of their training, the youth is also encouraged and mentored in developing a farm business plan, which will essentially give them a different perspective on their business ideas and ventures. This farm business plan is at the end of the 9-weeks training programme presented in the format of a business canvas to a panel of professional mentors selected by Metropolitan. The reward for the winning Collective Shaper through Metropolitan is R 50 000.

Peter Mashapu, first beneficiary of the Metropolitan Collective Shapers programme

“We are very passionate about this initiative at Metropolitan because it doesn’t mean throwing money at a problem in the hope it will disappear.” says Metropolitan CEO Peter Tshiguvho. He went on to emphasize that “the idea is to provide people with the tools to create long-term and sustainable opportunities that will eventually form part of the natural cycle of knowledge and the business landscape in Polokwane and elsewhere.” (Metropolitan Website; 2021).

One of the collective shapers, Mphashe Tlaba also had a great review of the training. He goes on to elaborate in the video below: ​

Agribusiness presents a bright future for young farmers and the youth. Whenever mentorship programs are done well, numerous open doors are within reach.

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The SONA 2022 Recap

5 min read

The State of the Nation Address for 2022 has highlighted a lot of issues that needed to be addressed by the president, and so far, president Cyril Ramaphosa diligently addressed the crises created by the global pandemic, the aftermath, as well as a way forward.

The president went on to fully acknowledge the contributions and the growth of the Agricultural sector by pointing out its positive economic impact since the pandemic.

Picture: Jacques Nelles

Here are some highlights that were taken away from the SONA regarding agriculture:

  1. The president fully described and addressed the National State of Disaster. He is quoted as saying “The National State of Disaster, which has been set up since March 2020, will before long be finished as the public authority moves into the following period of its administration of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our aim to end the public condition of catastrophe when we have settled different measures under the National Health Act and other regulation to contain the pandemic.”
  2. During this year’s SONA, which was held at the Cape Town City Hall on the 10th of February 2022, the agriculture sector was acknowledged for the remarkable work despite the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. President Ramaphosa emphasized the importance of land reform and promised to fast-track the implementation by creating a Land and Agrarian Reform Agency. He went on to say , “To date, government has redistributed over five million hectares of land, totaling around 5 500 farms, to more than 300 000 beneficiaries. This is in addition to the land restitution process, which has benefitted over two million land claimants and resulted in the transfer of around 2,7 million hectares.”
  4. The president encouraged South Africans to support local businesses by buying local goods and services. His appeal to South Africans was focused on supporting their local sugar industry, with a special mention of a blueprint for the Sugar Cane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030, which was signed during the lockdown. The purpose is to allow large sugar users to purchase at least 80% of their sugar needs from local growers.
  5. Last year, president Rampahosa reported an increase in local sugar production and a decline in imported sugar as a result of the implementation of the plan. He added: “This meant stability to an industry that employs around 85 000 people.” Besides providing market access to smallholders and emerging farmers, the government will also develop skills across the entire value chain of agriculture. A major emphasis will be placed on expanding the number of commercial black farmers.
  6. As a result of being the second largest exporter of citrus in the world, with about 65%, or 2.25m tons, of the crop of lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit and soft citrus destined for international markets, president Cyril Ramaphosa continued to praise the South African citrus industry. The president added that strong export growth in wine, maize, nuts, deciduous fruit and sugar cane was also recorded.

The address by the president were received well by the agricultural sector. However, Farmer’s weekly reports that the chairperson of the African Farmer’s Association of South Africa, Neo Masithela, went on to plead that there needs to be more action put towards the industry. He continued to add that key fundamental factors affecting economic growth within agriculture needed to be addressed as well.

“We hope to see government addressing the gap between the haves and the have nots in the agriculture value chain as a whole, to create a unified industry that would be more sustainable in the long run” said Mr Masithela.
Also commenting on the SONA, Agri SA’s executive Director Mr. Christo Van de Rheede, went on to add that Agri SA’s relationship with government had worked well throughout the course of recent years, yet what they currently needed to see was action.