were once beginners
t was the old American President, Benjamin Franklin, who wrote,
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and
.’ Early on in his life Franklin discovered that imitating other
people was a sure way to self-improvement and success.
He would deliberately set out to discover the experts in the field he
was interested in and acquire knowledge or skills and examine their
work closely. He learned as much as possible about their style, at
titudes, habits and strategies.
The key is that Franklin was open to learning and he believed in
getting involved in improving himself. He would continuously imitate
recognised experts until he had grown in confidence and skill.
Farmer Development Programme
As Grain SA’s Farmer Development team we are proud of the fact
that the success of our programme is reflected in the relationships
we have built with the farmers and broader agricultural sector.
The successes and growth we have seen in the farmers we work
with encourage us every day to reach out to more people to take our
hands on this development journey.
True to our characters, we are always eager to partner with other
stakeholders in internship programmes. We believe there are many
knowledgeable graduates from colleges who still can be further em
powered to make a significant difference in the sector if they are
given the opportunity to become involved in the field, to learn first-
hand from experts and gain practical experience which both build
confidence and increase insight and knowledge.
The goal is not to be successful, though; the goal is to be valuable.
Once you are valuable, instead of chasing success, it will attract
itself to you.
In November 2016, Grain SA Farmer Development team members
approached the Provincial Department of Agriculture for their as
sistance with more mechanisation support for the farmers who are
mentored by them. We were delighted when during this discussion
the idea of an internship programme was born.
Our goal is that 19 graduates in agriculture will be employed and
become members of the Grain SA Farmer Development team as
interns. This programme will then run in conjunction with the
mechanisation support contributed to the programme by the depart
ment. The interns’ objective is to gain practical experience with the
primary focus on grain production and farmer development.
The exposure includes practical experience, where the interns will
receive hands-on experience by doing the following themselves and
then teaching other farmers to do it:
Boom sprayer calibrations
Mapping of land, using GPS
Farm equipment maintenance
Crop yield estimates
The interns will also participate in training and assist with Grain SA
farmer training courses in grain production. These are invaluable
courses which have a good balance between theory and the practi
cal application thereof.
Other learning opportunities and skills development activities will
be acquired during the Grain SA social facilitation tasks, which
include study group meetings, farmers days and advanced farmer
All Grain SA’s farmer development work is done responsibly with
a view of encouraging accurate record keeping, log book main
tenance and detailed accountability so we can report to all our
partners. In this regard interns will be allowed to participate in
administrative and reporting activities and will benefit from com
puter training and skills development.
The roaring lion kills no prey
We need to change perceptions that college graduates only have
‘head knowledge’, but are not able to assist with practical solutions
in the field. It is true that one of the challenges Grain SA Farmer
Development has, is finding competent mentors for the ever-
expanding programme – especially those willing to work in deep
rural areas where the need is greatest.
We are therefore eager to cultivate young mentors who share the
same passion for land transformation and sustainable farmer de
velopment through an internship programme like this. We see the
benefit as being twofold:
The interns obtain relevant experience, which builds their confi
dence and empowers them, so they are equipped and positioned
to apply for good jobs.
Grain SA Farmer Development is given the opportunity to train
the calibre of mentors that we need in the field for future farmer
Farmer Development co-ordinators, Grain SA
Grain SA Internship Programme in partnership with DRDAR
The greatest leader is
not necessarily the one
who does the greatest
things. He is the one
that gets the people to
do the greatest things.
– Ronald Reagan