How to Get More Young Entrepreneurs into Farming


Recent technological innovations and the support of the government mean that there has never been a better time to venture into the South African farming industry.

Combined with the rising awareness that farming is needed as never before because of the pressures of global warming and the rising food needs of a growing population, it is surprising that the educated young graduate workforce of entrepreneurs aren’t rushing to take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by the industry.

Young handsome agriculture engineer squatting in soybean field with tablet in hands in early summer

There are many reasons why young entrepreneurs aren’t attracted to farming such as it has the image of it being an area for poor and less-educated rural folk.

Most young people dream of a well-paid white-collar office job in the city. However, despite these common perceptions, farming or agri-business in South Africa is actually a dynamic and burgeoning sector – a new term has even been coined to describe thee opportunities – agripreneurship.

Here are four reasons why opportunities in agriculture should be snapped up by young business people:

1. Biodiversity means plenty of choice

Biodiversity means that it is possible to become involved in virtually any type of farming.

South Africa is a large country that is one-eighth the size of the United States and home to an incredibly diverse range of climatic regions from arid semi-desert to sub-tropical.

Agricultural opportunities range from citrus fruit and wine-growing to intensive crop production and fish-farming. Meanwhile, there is always sheep farming in areas where the land is poor. And did you know that South Africa is the leading exporter of cut flowers?

This diversity means that if you have a clear business plan and the necessary skills and drive, South Africa is the ideal country to transfer your range of skills to the farming sector.

2. An ageing workforce welcomes the youthful

In common with much of the world, agriculture in South Africa has an ageing workforce, with an average age of over 60. This means that there is plenty of room for dynamic young people to enter the sector.

The New Growth Plan aims to create 5 million new jobs in agriculture by 2020 with many incentives such as low-interest loans for young people. With an increasing middle-class population and consequent higher demand for meat and dairy products, there are plenty of lucrative rewards for young people ready to take on the challenge.

3. Technological innovations are revolutionising South Africa’s farming

Farming is longer about back-breaking manual labour and a horse and plough. Farming innovations are helping to change South Africa’s landscape and future-proof the country’s food supply.

Female gardener tending to organic crops and picking up a bountiful basket full of fresh produce

New technologies are increasingly being utilised by farms, such as Blue River Technology – which features artificial intelligence to inform tractors exactly how much to ‘see and spray’.

Renewable energy, such as solar panels, are also becoming widely used to supply power to remote farms.

This creates a far clearer foreseeable future for the farming industry and one that would largely benefit from the young and ambitious generation.

4. A challenging but bright future

The droughts in South Africa hit the global headlines this summer when Cape Town nearly ran out of fresh water.

Farming can be a tough business and it would be foolish to ignore the challenges posed by global warming. However, tough times could also raise the possibility of buying a farm at a very low price.

READ MORE: FG Commences Training Of 730 Niger Delta Youths In ICT, Fish Farming, Others

If you are interested in developing farming technologies for a drier future, there has never been a better time for people with the right skills, such as graduate engineers and scientists to get involved.

Young farmers examining dirt while tractor is plowing field

Precision farming is becoming increasingly important – many large-scale fruit and wine producers are already using the latest technologies to farm in a water-smart way to minimise wastage and become resource efficient.

South Africa is a dynamic country with all the ingredients necessary to drive ‘agripreneurship’ into the 21st century. Of course, if you are interested in becoming involved in the farming industry, it is important to do plenty of research in order to be fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

By Bruce Hakutizwi, USA and International Accounts Manager for, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses. Bruce has over 7 years’ experience working within the US business transfer marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.

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