When we hear the word farmers, what comes to mind immediately is a hoe, cutlass and some soil clothes that shows the effort of tilling the ground and feeding livestock. Now that makes a lot of sense to many of us, but stilettos and feather hats, slim cut suits and beautiful dresses were never one of those classifications of the look of a farmer.

Many of the farmers we met in Mpumalanga at a prestigious graduation ceremony were not dressed in anything soily or dirty, almost all the farmers we saw were somewhat fashion conscious and well dressed.

So we asked, are farming ethics different, or does the outfit in some way connects to the way farming is conducted. These were questions we were asking at a graduation ceremony in Mpumalanga, which proved what we understood about farmers to be stereotypical and wrong. A new generation of farmers are being groomed and developed to compete on an equal level with many already established commercial farmers.

In 2014, The World Health Organization says half of the households in South Africa aren’t getting enough to eat. The problem is not a shortage of food; It’s that people aren’t able to access the food that’s available. Hunger and malnutrition, fueled by poverty, unemployment and the price of food and petrol have left many families battling to meet their basic household needs. The World Health Organization has found that half of the households in South Africa are facing a food crisis.

In response to this crisis, organizations such as Buhle Farmer’s Academy have made it a priority to develop more commercial farmers who are practically able to farm and not only consultants or theorists. This then makes it even a more equitable plan considering the redistribution of land debate, which ensures that many of the new owners of land that would be redistributed or re-allocated, use it in a way that benefits the whole country at large.

Gone are the days, when farming was left to the few boers or old African fathers and mothers, youths are now becoming part of the interested parties who are investing their time in gaining recognizable qualifications in farming and poultry. One of the top faculty members of the project also commended their effort to develop farmers who are no more subsistent but commercially viable.

Absa is a big partner for the project aimed at producing a huge number of commercially sustainable farmers that would in turn contribute to the food supply and general development of the country, another supporter of the project is New Holland Agriculture.