To ensure future success, farmers should adapt and see the new challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.
This was the message of AJ van Wyk, an agricultural student at Elsenberg and keynote speaker at the Agri Western Cape annual conference in Rawsonville.
The 19-year-old impressed delegates with his speech titled; ‘Who owns the future’.
“The new generation of agricultural professionals’ acceptance of technology and willingness to implement it is a significant game-changer,” he said. However, he cautioned that it was important for young farmers to understand the old concepts and ways of farming, before they can implement new technology.
Another important factor was leadership and the youth.
“Agriculture should be the game changer in South Africa’s economy. We have the knowledge, the skills and the agricultural leaders to achieve it. However, we need young people who are willing to stand up and act as leaders,” said Van Wyk.
He also emphasised the need to improve the image of agriculture: “The current negativity regarding agriculture and agricultural prospects create anything but confidence amongst our youth.”
Van Wyk also believes that farmers should not regard transformation, empowerment and land reform as threats, but rather convert these factors into opportunities, since it is a “reality that is here to stay that we will have to deal with.”