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rain SA’s newest junior economist, Ms Ikageng

Maluleke, was born and bred in Hammanskraal, just

outside Pretoria. Her passion for agriculture began in

high school where she gained knowledge of it as one

of her subjects. She went on to study a BSc in Agricultural

Economics at the University of Pretoria and obtained an MSc in

Agricultural Economics, majoring in Agribusiness.

During her MSc tenure she worked as a lecturing assistant for

two years at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Rural

Development and Extension at the University of Pretoria. In

2015 she was appointed as a research assistant for the Land

Matrix Initiative, a global and independent land monitoring initia­

tive. Her interests encompass a variety of topics, including large-

scale land acquisitions and investments, land conflicts, transpar­

ency in land governance, rural development, food security and

nutrition, agribusiness and trade policy.

The highlight of her career was

spending a semester at Ghent

University on an exchange pro­

gramme where she did a few

courses and travelled around

Europe. Her passion for agricul­

ture and development is what

drives her in the desire to make a

difference in the agricultural sector.

She is excited about work­

ing in the grain industry

(she started working at

Grain SA in May) and

can’t wait to learn and

share her knowledge.

In her spare time

she enjoys reading,

doing community ser­

vice and travelling.

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Coretha Usher,

human resources officer, Grain SA

Ikageng Maluleke

joined Grain SA

in May.

The key role played by the Department of Agriculture and

Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) is to:

Fund the mechanisation support made available to Grain SA

Farmer Development for the farmers.

Contribute to the stipend received by the graduates who are

appointed as interns with Grain SA.

The key role of Grain SA Farmer Development is to:

Conduct overall supervision and monitoring of interns

through Grain SA’s development managers in the province.

Enable interns by assigning them to accompany experienced

mentors in conducting their daily tasks.

Give specific tasks to and monitor and coach interns.

Enable mentors to continue carrying out their duties with

one or two interns assigned to them.

Submit reports to the provincial co-ordinator for assessment

every Friday.

Together we are making a difference

We are pleased to report that the DRDAR and Grain SA Farmer

Development Programme have already signed a five-year Mem­

orandum of Understanding (MOU) which commenced in the

2017/2018 season – so we are already about to embark on year

two of this inspiring project.

Involvement of youth in agriculture

We have had such positive feedback from the project so far

that both partners have been convinced that through this joint

approach we could unlock job creation, commercialise rural

farmers quicker and ensure engaged youth in the agricultural

sector. We are convinced that for the agricultural sector to grow

and thrive we need to involve the youth of the country. Too often

this is easier said than done.

The average farmer in South Africa is 65+ years old. The average

age of farmers involved in the current Jobs Fund Project – a part­

nership between ourselves and the Jobs Fund, making a huge

impact on small farmer development – is 50+ years.

There is seemingly very little interest from the youth. We be­

lieve that a lack of experience and practical skills development

are contributory factors. Too often our young agricultural gradu­

ates don’t have the relevant experience to farm or apply for a

job in extension services. They lack the practical knowledge to

start farming and lack confidence to chase after ideal jobs in


We believe this programme, although currently only operating

on a very small scale, has great potential to alleviate these issues

and could become a significant part of future farmer develop­

ment if it were to spread its net ever wider across the provinces.

#TogetherWeMakeADifference. We are not shy to say we are

very excited to take part in increasing the number of youth in

the agricultural sector.

grain sa