Farmers planning to apply for state-leased farms may need to brush up on their skills and knowledge, and make sure the people they employ do too. AGRICOLLEGES international has the answers.

Recently the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, announced that government will hand over underutilised or vacant agricultural state land as part of the government’s land reform programme. The process will see government providing 30-year leases on almost 900 state farms, measuring about 700,000 hectares, to qualifying applicants.

Farmers and other members of the public can apply to be allocated a lease, and beneficiaries would then be required to maintain any infrastructure on the land and its general upkeep. Once the application process is complete, lease agreements are signed and land has been allocated, farmers will need to take up the roll of actively setting up, running and managing the farm. To do this requires skills and knowledge.

Didiza noted that applicants must be South African citizens, 18 years or older, preferably have 3-10 years’ farming experience and be willing to work the land full-time for the duration of the lease contract of 30 years. They will also need to demonstrate the capacity and basic resources to work the land. Importantly, however, first-time farmers will also be considered.

The future of farming is here and it is in your hands! To get access to government land, you'll improve your chances by get an agricultural qualification.

The future of farming is here and it is in your hands! To get access to government land, you’ll improve your chances by get an agricultural qualification.

In order to ensure that land will be used productively, government therefore needs to select the right beneficiaries – and may need to offer further support to ensure the success of the initiative. Of critical importance will be ensuring that the skills and knowledge of both the beneficiaries and the people who they employ to work on the farms, are adequate.

Online agri-education platform, AGRICOLLEGS international, provides the perfect solution for those wanting to improve their skills in the fields of agribusiness, plant or animal production. Online learning offers a wider variety of alternatives than traditional university, at more affordable prices and with the flexibility to learn at your own time, place and pace.

AGRICOLLEGES’ short courses in agriculture give students a wide variety of options to build their skills. An NQF Level 4 National Certificate in General Agriculture is also available and open to school leavers as well as those with previous practical experience on farms.

Whether you’re considering applying for a government lease or not, if you’re keen on agriculture, the growing interest in this exciting sector means that now is the time to take charge and build your knowledge by signing up for a course.

You can sign-up for and study an online course, no matter where you are. The state land will be made available for lease in all provinces except the Western Cape and Gauteng. It will be divided as follows:

  • Eastern Cape:43 000 hectares;
  • Free State:8 333 hectares;
  • KwaZulu-Natal:3 684 hectares;
  • Limpopo:121 567 hectares
  • Mpumalanga:40 206 hectares,
  • Northern Cape:12 224 hectares; and
  • North West:300 000 hectares.

The future of farming is here and it is in your hands!