After months of meticulous planning and networking, Friends of UKZN Agriculture – the University’s very own Agricultural Alumni Society – was launched on 25 May 2013. The province’s agribusiness community came out in force with about 150 alumni gathering at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg to show their support.
Earlier in the year, the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences was approached by enthusiastic alumni and individuals from various agribusinesses with the aim of improving their networks and relationships with their alma mater. Led by Managing Director of LIMA, Mr Duncan Stewart and a dedicated committee of volunteers, these supporters formed the society.
The main objective of the society is to form closer working relationships between UKZN agriculture and agribusiness stakeholders. ‘We need to close the gap,’ said Stewart. ‘The University has contributed massively to the economy and to the sector and feeds us quality graduates. The brain trust of agriculture in this country is alumni and it’s time to plough back in and to give back.’
At the launch, Dean and Head of School, Professor Albert Modi said that he was passionate in his belief that the University had a primary role to play in agricultural skills provision for the continent and that agricultural training and research were critical components for food security and poverty alleviation in Africa. He pledged his committed support to the Society, and that of the School.