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The sustainability of small scale cane growers through youth involvement in north coast region of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

W.M. Ntshangase
S.C. Ngiba
J.A. van Niekerk
E.M. Zwane


Cane farming makes an important contribution to the socio-economic development of the rural areas where it takes place. These cane growing areas are characterised by high levels of poverty and youth unemployment. The current crop of cane growers is ageing and there is a need to prepare to handover the baton to the younger generation of cane growers. The minimal involvement of youth in cane farming will have negative implications for the sustainability of cane production in the rural areas. Sustainability of cane production will heavily depend on the current and future participation of young people in cane growing.

The researcher’s hypothesis was that there is a lack of youth involvement in agriculture which is associated with negative perceptions and attitudes towards cane farming. As a result these farms cannot be sustained beyond the current generation of farmers because young people are not interested in agriculture in general and cane growing in particular.

The results disproved the hypothesis. Results showed that young people whose parents are cane growers are already involved in farming activities and assisting their parents. This involvement also increases their willingness to take over farming from their parents. The results show positive inputs in terms of encouraging sustainability in the future of cane farming.

Keywords: Small scale, cane grower, youth, involvement, attitude, sustainability, extension implications