Future Farmer interns are hands-on from page 1

2016-04-20 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Future Farmer Intern, Ayanda Ngcobo, at work at one of the Wildlands’ community hubs.

PHOTO: supplied Future Farmer Intern, Ayanda Ngcobo, at work at one of the Wildlands’ community hubs.

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LEADING conservation NPO, Wildlands, is transforming the lives of 10 Future Farmer interns by placing them in its various vegetable gardening hubs close to the organisation’s partner­ communities to gain invaluable skills.

The Future Farmers programme develops skills and sparks passion for farming in young aspiring farmers by providing them with real job experience in the sector.

The Future Farmers’ organisation in Howick­, has an interesting programme where, based on feedback from host institutions, individuals who have excelled are sent on an exchange programme to learn different styles of agriculture.

Their one-year internship programme with Wildlands is intended to expose the interns to a wide range of practical experience, over and above the theory they may already have learnt while studying.

They will also be exposed to community work through Wildlands’ projects such as school vegetable gardens, nurseries and the Food for Life programme; focusing on permaculture gardens at a homestead level, which is related to food security and small business development.

One enthusiastic intern, Ayanda Ngcobo from Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, said she has been passionate about agriculture since she was young.

“At home we had a vegetable garden and I took great pleasure working in it.”

Ngcobo, who holds a Bachelor of Technology in plant production majoring in soil science, said agricultural extension development, which involves working with communities and exposing them to new methods of agriculture, was the most enjoyable part of her new job.

“I’ve already been exposed to organic farming and growing plants and controlling weeds without the use of chemicals.

“I can’t wait to share my knowledge with the community and inspire them to love gardening as much as I do.”

The interns will be working across the province starting at three recently established hubs in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Richards Bay, made possible by Nedbank and South 32.

Wildlands’ project manager, Dave Moldenhauer, said the intention was to go back to basics and place emphasis on organic vegetable farming.

“I have secured a permaculture design training course for them which differs greatly from conventional commercial farming that they’ve studied.

“They will learn intelligent use of water, alternative methods­ of mulching and companion planting, among other interesting things. This knowledge will stimulate creative methods of keeping the gardens green, and productive and bursting with abundance.”

Wildlands has issued their Future Farmer interns protective gear and they are being inducted­ into the Wildlands programme where they will familiarise themselves with the farming sector and gain invaluable hands-on experience.

- Supplied.

‘I can’t wait to share my knowledge with the community and inspire them to love gardening as much as I do’

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