Hlamalani Ngwenya

Broadening Young People’s Lens on Agriculture

With the world’s population continually on the rise and the agricultural workforce rapidly ageing, there is no doubt that the future of food production lies in the hands of our youth. However, the biggest challenge is that the majority of young people do not see agriculture as a profitable sector.

Particularly in developing countries, many of them associate agriculture with poverty – a view rooted in the dominant smallholder and subsistence farming that they have observed from their grandparents over the years. That said, there are many youth who are changing the face of agriculture, and with proper support and dedication, they create positive success stories in the sector.

My given name is Hlamalani, meaning ‘be surprised’ in Tsonga. My family name is Ngwenya, meaning crocodile. I am widely known as Hlami, but you may also call me ‘Be surprised Crocodile” if you like. I am an international development consultant, lecturer and social entrepreneur. Qualified as a high school teacher since 1992, imparting knowledge and skills to others is not just a passion – it’s a calling which runs through my veins. I hold a Masters degree in Consumer Sciences, specializing in community nutrition and have since professionalized in other areas through practice.

With 25 years of work experience, I have a wide range of expertise in the food, nutrition, agriculture and natural resources sector (including climate change), ranging from public policy to community development, farmer organizational development, cooperatives to institutional reform, to agricultural education & research and beyond. I have the rare luck of combining my love for travel and work, and have been to more than 40 countries around the world and facilitated over 180 workshops, seminars and other engagements globally.

Hlamalani Ngwenya
Hlamalani Ngwenya
Hlamalani Ngwenya is an International Development Consultant and Lecturer at the University of Free State, South Africa. She is also Social Entrepreneur and Founder and Executive Director of the Facilitation of Systemic Change Consulting Company.

That’s why I am passionate about mentoring youth. We need to open up the agricultural space, and promote the sector beyond the stereotypical image of farming. While to many, agriculture means producing crops in the fields or working on a smallholding, other functions need to be in place too – business, policy, scientific innovation, technology – to support the sector’s productivity. That’s how we attract more interest from people who under normal circumstances would not have imagined having a role to play in agriculture (like me, as a youth!). As an example, I engage in a number of policy debates around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other related topics, and was privileged to attend the Committee on Food Security (CFS 42) in Rome in 2015, representing talent development in agriculture.

Hlamalani Ngwenya jumping
Hlamalani Ngwenya jumping
Hlamalani is passionate about mentoring youth to broadening their view on farming.

In an effort to broaden the lens through which we look at and understand agriculture beyond farming, I mentor and coach youth, linking them to relevant opportunities where I can. I have started a campaign called PERFECT opportunities for youth in agriculture, using PERFECT as an acronym for Policies, Education, Research, Finance, Extension & Advisory services, Communication and Technologies.

I am looking forward to challenging the delegates to broaden their view, to see alternative pathways to attract brilliant and innovative youth, including those out of the mainstream agricultural field. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to exploring ways for attracting investment for youth development in agriculture along the PERFECT value chain. I take every event I attend as a learning curve, and I look forward to being inspired by the many young delegates who will be in Brussels next month.

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All Comments

Vutivi Mahlaule
March 14, 2018 - 01:12 PM

This is so powerful. I was impressed when I saw you on Nhlalala ya Rixaka show yesterday (13/03/2018) and have been trying to get your contacts to be in touch with you. I have applied for Masters in Rural Development with UP and im wondering if maybe I could be involved in projects that you are perhaps engaged with. Kindly provide me with your email address.


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Indira Castro
October 19, 2017 - 11:47 PM

I greet you from the Pearl of the Caribbean, Margarita Island in Venezuela.
I congratulate you on your achievements and I would love very much that people like you could come to my country to teach my people.
We have many natural resources and we do not know how to take advantage of them.
My country is in a political confrontation that does not benefit any side, my people are suffering from hunger due to lack of education, lack of knowledge, I myself have a plot of 750 m2 and honestly I do not know how to make the most of it because many generations ago my people forgot the fields.
Any guidance on this will be welcome.
Thank you!!!

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October 06, 2017 - 06:07 AM

That's so empowering and visionary. Keep it moving Mama Hlami. Good work

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Adv Marcia Davids
October 06, 2017 - 05:56 AM

This is incredible, you do work which can be done by 10 men. I You are a powerhouse and inspiration to many.

I am a privileged to have you as my mentor and coach!. You have really broadened my horizons when it comes to agriculture.

Given my legal background I never thought that I could develop a passion (it's more love) for agriculture. Your determination to succeed propelled me towards innovation and I have since ventured into vertical farming (hydroponics,aeroponics and aquaponics) .

Thank you for your love and support. Keep the Agricultural fire burning!

Adv Marcia Davids

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