UKZN Hosts Agri-Food Career Fair
The annual Agri-Food Career Fair organised by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foundation for Industry Talent was hosted on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus.
The Fair provided a unique opportunity for high school learners and university students to discover what a career in agriculture involves, from production of food and agricultural products to supply chain management and marketing.
The Fair was held for the first time last year in response to recognition by industry that agriculture is regarded as an unpopular career choice due to misconceptions about what a career in agriculture involves. It is felt that many young people who would thrive in the agri-food industry are not being informed of their prospects in the field because of misconceptions about the industry. Together with leading agricultural and life science departments at universities across the country, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foundation hopes to challenge this trend by presenting a professional, realistic view of careers in agriculture.
The event included a lunch for high school teachers who were encouraged to promote careers in agriculture for their students. Ms Tracey Campbell of Subtrop and Ms Rechi Dlamini of the Agribusiness Development Agency gave insightful presentations at the lunch about career options available in agriculture. The lunch also included the showing of a video made by the PMA Foundation in South Africa with support from AgriSETA about careers in the agri-food supply chain.
More than 300 high school pupils attended from schools including Silver Heights Secondary, Northbury Park Secondary, Siyanda High, Phayiphini High, Nyonithwele High, Emzamweni High, Makholwa High and Willowfontein High. Teachers from these schools as well as from Maritzburg College, Pietermaritzburg Girls' High School and Epworth were also at the lunch.
The Fair included displays by Fruit South Africa, SANSOR, Cedara College of Agriculture, ZZ2, the South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers (SAIAE), RCL Foods, Syngenta, South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), Potatoes SA, the Seedling Growers’ Association of South Africa, the Agricultural Research Council and UKZN.