Thabiso Pauly Maenetje (27) is the founder and chief executive officer of the Agripol Group in Tzaneen, Limpopo. Here he brings his full commitment and education as an animal scientist and an extension technologist.
Maenetje works with farmers. Supporting decision making and helping with the intricacies of both crop and livestock farming in terms of health, production, finance, economics and engineering.
He works with farmers from all over South Africa and Africa. “I assist farmers with agricultural services and provide relevant information on sustainable farming practices. I do farm visits, engage with my colleagues at Agripol, strategising how best we can help farmers manage their operations,” he says.
His proudest moment was collaborating with the government entities and big stakeholders in animal health. “Founding Agripol is one of his proudest moment ever.”
Young South Africans should start planting home gardens while they are still at school, Maenetje advises. “Learn how to feed chickens, how to plant cash crops like spinach and tomatoes for your family, so that it’s easy for you when you venture into agriculture.”
He believes future millionaires of Africa must not come from construction, but from agriculture. “Everybody eats food, that’s an opportunity on its own.”
If this career or field of study interests you then simply follow the advice below to find out more and about getting involved. Also check out the other careers to choose from in the agri sector on Food for Mzansi.
Okay, now it’s over to Thabiso Pauly Maenetje (27), animal scientist and founder and chief executive officer at Agripol Group.
Could you sum up your job for us?
I am a certified animal scientist and extension technologist. I specialise in farm management and agricultural consulting. I work with farmers supporting decision making and helping with intricacies of both crop and livestock farming, in terms of health, production, finance, economics and engineering.
So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail?
I communicate with farmers every day of my life from all over South Africa and Africa. I assist farmers with agricultural services by providing relevant information on sustainable farming practices. I make farm visits and engage with my colleagues at Agripol, strategising how best we can help farmers manage their operations.
What qualification do you need for this career?
You need to have a degree in animal science. You need to have experience in farming and register with the scientific council to practice as a consultant.
What are the character traits you need to be great at your job?
You need to have great communication skills and learn as many languages as you can. You need to be very punctual on farm visits and appointments. Be strict and friendly at the same time.
What subjects do I need to become an animal scientist?
In high school you will need physical science, mathematics, agriculture and life science.
What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in?
For me, modern office work disconnects people from the soil, air and sun. Agriculture is a culture, as its stated. I mean agriculture is the backbone of our economy, it alleviates poverty by providing us with food and clothing. It’s beautiful how farmers utilise God’s given resources to make a living and feed the world. It’s the most beautiful thing ever.
Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments?
My proudest moment, was collaborating with government entities and big stakeholders in animal health. Founding Agripol is one of my proudest moments ever.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
When I’m not at work I chill with my family. I am a family orientated young man. I travel. I’m a sports fanatic, always watching sports. I have another business that I do in my spare time, selling popcorn and chips. I’m also studying part time via the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on AgriSETA Learner Connect?
Young people account for a large percentage of the rural population and are often unemployed, despite the need for labour in agriculture. The majority of our youth are facing hurdles in trying to earn a livelihood. They migrate to big cities trying to find jobs and they cause over-urbanization unnecessarily.
My advice is, start farming in your home gardens while you are still at school. Learn how to feed chickens, how to plant cash crops like spinach and tomatoes for your family, so that it’s easy for you when you venture into agriculture. Future millionaires of Africa must not come from construction, but from agriculture. Everybody eats food, that’s an opportunity on its own.
Where can I study to become an animal scientist?
Apply for an animal science degree at University of Pretoria, Free State University, Limpopo University, Venda University, Stellenbosch Universtiy or the Tshwane University of Technology.