The entire concept of Mentorship has become immensely important and the benefits for the upcoming farmers are immeasurable. The first SA Agri Academy/CBI Mentorship pilot programme started during May 2004. The Mentorship programme focused on the training of mentors who in return will mentor emerging black farmers who participated on the export readiness training programme.
The pilot project was aimed at eight selected participants from the original training ranks of the SA Agri Academy. These individuals’ selection criteria were based on agricultural expertise, knowledge and experience (according to the value chain) in dealing with small scale farmers as well as the trainer’s personal profile.
Even though constant capacity building and training is conducted, the pilot project found that individual farmers still lack skills on Technical level (ex. EG, Marketing Technical Skills, Food Security), Business level (ex. Marketing, Financial Planning, EG) and, “Soft Skill” level (ex. Successful conflict management practices, negotiations). A South African tailor-made Mentorship Program of at least 3 years was designed which will not only enable the previously disadvantaged individuals to attain and maintain sustainable national and international market access but will also bolster the above-mentioned ventures to become self sustainable enterprises. The following are the criteria set for this initiative:
- Agricultural background and experience
- People skills
- General understanding agriculture
- Life experience
- Good overview value chain
- Marketable/Exportable product
- A Citizen Registered as a Business Entity/Registered with SARS
- Willingness to participate
Fruit and vegetables (fresh and processed) Aloe Flowers, Honeybush Teas and Herbs.