Over 300 job opportunities for agriculture sector

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pretoria - More than 300 people from historically disadvantaged communities will receive training to work in the agriculture sector in an initiative that is set to address scarce and critical skills.

The R11 million shearing training and skills development programme was funded by BKB and Coega Development Corporation (CDC) through the Jobs Fund, which creates jobs by supporting initiatives that generate employment in innovative ways.

“The shearing training and skills development programme has been strategically designed to address unemployment, critical skills shortages in agriculture, and support the transformation of emerging farmers into commercial producers,” BKB Wool and Mohair Manager Isak Staats said.

He said if emerging livestock farmers are up-skilled, supported and capacitated to participate in production and agro-processing, the wool and mohair industry’s current annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution of R2.7 billion could be significantly increased over the next five years.

“If this segment of the market [emerging farmers] is unlocked, South Africa’s market share of global wool and mohair exports will move from the current 5 percent to 8 percent to 10 percent,” he said.

Staats said critical skills shortages for the wool and mohair processing was hampering emerging farmers of communal farming co-operatives in the former Transkei and Ciskei. 

The training for beneficiaries of the shearing training and skills development programme would take place at the CDC’s Human Capital Solutions in Nelson Mandela Bay and BKB’s Shearing College in Kroonstad.

BKB’s Marketing and Corporate Relations Manager Jacobus Le Roux said BKB was committed to developing, empowering and supporting emerging wool and mohair producers.

“The production, processing and export of wool and mohair are critical to the economy of the country, to our business and also to thousands of emerging producers and workers that depend on the sector,” Le Roux said.

He said there was an opportunity to grow commercial agriculture in the Eastern Cape and the former Transkei and Ciskei.

“BKB will continue to support and invest in initiatives that empower [previously disadvantaged communities],” Le Roux said.

About 24 000 rural communal producers receive technical assistance, market access and production finance from BKB’s outreach programme. – SAnews.gov.za

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