Budding estate manager destined for sweet success

28 November 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812903

Agriculture & Sugar
Education & Training
SMME Development & Support
Social Development

A member of a rural farming community on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast which was previously dispossessed of their land has secured the opportunity to be part of an agricultural internship programme designed to develop qualifying individuals and agricultural graduates into Assistant Estate Managers.

Ubizo Communal Property Association (CPA), in partnership with agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett, signed a 10-year agreement at the beginning of this year.

One of the themes contained in the lease agreement was the capacity building and training theme which focused on assisting qualifying individuals within the community to participate in interventions that will build their knowledge, experience and skills.

The capacity building and training programme was dividing into two interventions.

The first was centred around the Agricultural Internship Programme where Tongaat Hulett committed itself to training one or two people within the Ubizo community to become Assistant Farm Managers.

The second intervention was extended to incorporate a wide range of educational programmes including the bursary and learnership programme; Junior and Senior Certificate Courses in sugarcane agriculture; and other relevant agricultural and engineering programmes.

Makhosi Celiwe Cebekhulu, a deputy secretary at CPA, described herself as humbled to be one of the candidates selected to attend a five-week training course in sugarcane agriculture funded by Tongaat Hulett.

The 36-year-old from Obizo Tribal Council in northern KZN said her agricultural inspiration derived from having grown up on a farm and seeing a shortage of skills. She holds a senior certificate in sugarcane agriculture from SASRI alongside with her junior certificate.

“I had no theoretical background in botany - the scientific study of plants. I thoroughly enjoyed my first module which included the study of species or subspecies in my junior certificate course.

“I am extremely grateful to Tongaat Hulett, CPA, community and Tribal Council for granting me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow in the agricultural industry,” said Cebekhulu.

She is currently shadowing an Estate Manager of a farm in Tugela in northern KZN, as a trainee Estate Manager. The 12-month programme allows her to have a hands-on experience in cultivation and gain knowledge on the different types of harvesters.

“I want to acquire the skills of an estate manager who brings out the best in his or her team and constantly motivates them to reach for the best.

“There are many operational activities in the sugarcane industry that can only be learnt by dirtying your hands,” Cebekhulu said.

Her advice to young people is to productively use every opportunity that comes their way and to continuously believe in themselves.

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