South Africa: Hort group invests in students

Hortgro has invested over R2.5m in bursaries and the development of students for 2016.

“Hopefully over time most of you will find your niche somewhere in our sector, specifically, but also in agriculture at large, where we know there are a lot of opportunities,” Hortgro Executive Director, Anton Rabe, told the group of students at a cocktail event held at the South African Plant Improvement Organisation (SAPO) Trust in Stellenbosch. 

Hortgro has spent more than R20 m on bursaries over the past ten years – as an investment in budding agriculturalists.

Budding agriculturists. HORTGRO bursary holders at the function in Stellenbosch, last night - (from left) Lebotse Kamogelo, Faith Mokapane and Msizi Mdakiane.

According to Rabe, 65 students had received financial support and were spread across institutions, including the Elsenburg College of Agriculture, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Limpopo, Pretoria University, and Stellenbosch University. 

The students, who were predominantly from previously disadvantaged groups, were given a tour of the SAPO Trust facilities followed by a motivational talk by Hortgro Science Crop Production Programme Manager, Prof Wiehann Steyn.

Steyn, who was a Hortgro bursary holder at various stages of his academic career, used his personal story to encourage students.

“All of you who are studying and have received a bursary are extremely privileged to be part of an elite group who gets the opportunity to study,” Steyn said. He told the group that recognising his privilege provided him with “enormous motivation when things got tough”.

In the audience was a 22 year old Hortgro bursary holder with big dreams. Faith Mokapane is studying towards a BSc Agric in Horticulture and Plant Pathology, and sees herself as a farm owner in the not too distant future.

But first she plans to further her studies. “I plan to do my Masters’ in postharvest pomegranate,” she said with much excitement. 

For more information:
Dane McDonald 
Tel: 072 129 9649

(1 South African Rand=0.066 Euro)

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