The expansion of Amanzi for Food project in the North West province is the result of the positive and innovative attitudes of the two agriculture colleges within the province. The two agriculture colleges are Potchefstroom College of Agriculture and Taung Agriculture College. The collaborative focus of the North West province’s learning network is a response to a climate-smart agricultural future. Potchefstroom College of Agriculture specialises in mixed agriculture and Taung Agriculture College presents an Agriculture Diploma in Irrigation. Both colleges collaborated with Amanzi for Food researchers and developed innovative strategies to enable integration of topics such as water management, food security and climate change, working towards a climate-smart responsive curriculum. During workshop discussions, it became evident that to achieve these goals collaboration and articulation between colleges, research institutes, the community and farmers is essential. Some of the lecturers of the colleges integrated the Water Research Commission materials into their subjects and other lecturers creatively incorporated rainwater harvesting and conservation (RWH&C) practices into practical sessions. For example, Potchefstroom agriculture students developed and maintained tower gardens as part of their practical. The importance of integrating knowledge that equip graduates with the necessary tools and competence to be responsive to the current needs of the agriculture systems and governmental policies is a priority, even with the continuously shifting agriculture environment. The colleges are exploring further possibilities of incorporating RWH&C practices and other Amanzi for Food relevant practical components into their current community projects and to promote student involvement in future community projects.

By Wilma van Staden