Agricultural production as a youth livelihood approach in a rural context: a case study of Namahadi, Qwaqwa
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Most young people in the developing countries still prefer working in cities and towns to sustain their lives. They do not believe in working in their rural areas, and participating in agricultural production to earn a living. In South Africa, this is despite government interventions such as the one held in the eastern Free State, at Thabo Mofutsanyana District named the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP). This initiative was facilitated by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform meant to train youth from Namahadi, QwaQwa in agricultural production. The objective of this programme was to empower them with skills in agriculture, and assist in minimising food insecurity at household level. The current study was investigating why young people are not participating in the agricultural sector. The specific objectives were to explore the livelihood portfolios of rural youths, to determine perceptions, experiences and challenges of the CRDP trained youths regarding agricultural production, to identify potential agricultural value chains for CRDP youths and to develop recommendations to strengthen youth based rural agriculture projects. Qualitative research methods were used, where a total of twenty-four participants were interviewed (19 focus groups, 3 key informants and the community leader). Results of the study revealed that some youth members were producing from their home gardens, just to feed their families and not participating at a larger scale because they did not have production resources, like land, seeds and tools, water, electricity, fertilizers and pest control agents. They also did not receive support from the municipality and were not able to increase the scale of production. If the youth receive the required support, they will be able to work with others for the development of their area. The interventions which are provided to the youth will assist them in investing in agricultural production as a livelihood, and contribute to food security. Support from local authorities will enable continuation of these programmes.