Posted: September 6, 2021
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in collaboration with the University of Mpumalanga will be hosting seminars at five tertiary institutions to expose students to opportunities available in agro-processing in order to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the sector.
The seminars will be held in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, with the first of the information sharing sessions taking place at the University of Mpumalanga on 15 September 2021. The Departments of Small Business Development, and of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, as well as the industry association, Food South Africa will participate in the seminars.
According to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Fikile Majola, the purpose of the seminars is to encourage entrepreneurship among the country’s young people by exposing them to opportunities that are available in the agro-processing sector for them to explore.
Topics that will be discussed in the seminars include the opportunities that young people can explore in the value chains of the agro-processing industry which consists of various sub-sectors such as poultry, dairy products, fruit and vegetables processing, grain mill products, sugar mills and refineries, bakery products, wine, fruit juices, animal feeds and meat processing.
“We have undertaken this initiative to highlight opportunities available in the agro-processing sector that our young people can take advantage of and start their own businesses. As government, we would like to see the youth contributing positively in creating employment opportunities in the agro-pocessing value chain in particular. This will go along way in growing the country’s economy and increasing the country’s export revenue. We are bringing together various agencies of government to share information on their products and services that young people can tap into in order to assist them establish and grow their businesses,” says Majola.
He adds that by 2018 the agricultural and agro-processing value chain employed more than 280 000 people, contributing 20.3% to the country’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 2.7% to total GDP.
“Agro-processing is a crucial sub-sector of manufacturing. As government, we have identified agriculture and agro-processing as one of the crucial economic sectors to transform the economy through sustainable employment creation, business opportunities, investment attraction and growing export base,” says Majola.
South Africa as a developing country struggles with low levels of entrepreneurship. Majola says young people that are armed with appropriate information, skills and knowledge will contribute in changing the bleak picture painted by the employment statics that were released recently. The stats showed that 64% of young people aged 15-24 are unemployed, while almost 43% of those aged 25-35 are jobless.
SA displayed low levels of entrepreneurship uptake by its youth during the period between 2013 and 2016, in comparison to their counterparts from developing countries in other parts of the world. Although, the status-quo has improved after 2017 as reflected in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor of 2019/20, there is still a clear need to stimulate youth entrepreneurship in South Africa, by encouraging more young people to consider entering the entrepreneurship space as a viable career choice,” says Majola.
Majola adds that the youth represent the future of a society and its economy. Therefore, decent and productive economic opportunities for young people are critical to achieve sustainable growth, development and social stability.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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