[Henley Africa] Henley Business School – Africa now offering Agribusiness Programmes

HENLEY Business School Africa is energised to announce two groundbreaking short learning programmes in the agri-sector this year to build our farming industry.  They are the three-day Foundations of Farm Business Success and the longer Agri-Business Innovation and Leadership course.

“Land reform and especially access to land for farming remains a burning issue in our country,” says Henley Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley, “It is 107 years after the imposition of the hated Natives Land Act that allocated only 7% of the arable land in the country to the majority African population. Today in the 27th year of our much-vaunted democracy, still just under 26% of the available arable land is in African hands. Changing this status is a given and inevitable.  Doing it well – constructively and productively – is what we need to do.  For this reason, Henley has created two powerful programmes to upskill farmers, firstly in farm management and management skills and secondly in agri-innovation and next level management skills.


“Land is one issue, food security – particularly for a country where unemployment is rampant and more than a third of all South Africans depend on state grants as their key monthly source of income – is even more critical,” he says. “No one needs reminding of the inherent dangers of populism and political opportunism which have played out in Zimbabwe especially where economically effective land is placed in the hands of emergent farmers without the necessary skills or politically connected individuals with no intention of farming.”


The programmes are the fruits of an unprecedented in-depth tri-institution study into South Africa’s agricultural sector by academics from Henley Africa, Henley UK and the University of Reading’s respected School of Agriculture between 2018 and 2019 and further develop Henley Africa’s mantra of building the leaders who build the businesses who build Africa and reducing the Gini co-efficient in the process.


“These courses are our contribution not just to the debate, but to providing very real, sustainable, equitable and academically rigorous solutions to a very pressing problem,” says Foster-Pedley, “we hope that both the private and the public sector will join hands with us this year and beyond to ensure they are rolled out as far and wide and as quickly as possible. And in the end, farming is about far more than food production.  It’s about conservation, communities, heritage, prosperity and quality of life.  As Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer philosopher once said: ‘The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings’.”


The development of these programmes saw Henley’s academics and researchers meeting representatives of every subset in the agricultural food chain; from subsistence farmers to highly successful commercial farmers; government officials in Land and Agriculture; and, executives in agricultural co-operatives and NPOs, as well as the leaders of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The findings were presented to the Presidency and distributed to the supportive ears of the appropriate ministries.


“We found that while there is a lot of technical training available for farmers, there is no training on management,” explains Henley Africa head of research and faculty development, Dr Adri Drotskie, one of the leaders of the research team. “As a result of our deep-dive research, we identified four focus areas where we could help: management and planning, financial management and budgeting, innovation, and people management.”

The Foundations of Farm Business Success short learning programme has been developed specifically for farm workers, supervisors, young farm managers and new farm owners as well as for more experienced farmers who wish to get a dynamic refresher. It is only three days long, with a day on each of these focus areas. This allows the course to be an addendum to existing technical agricultural teaching programmes presented by the various agricultural bodies; the commodity organisations and the various co-operatives – or presented on its own as a three-day short learning initiative.  It will be co-delivered with the cooperatives and agri colleges in farming areas – or at Henley Africa’s Johannesburg campus.


The Agri-Business Innovation and Leadership course, on the other hand, is aimed at farmers or agribusinesses who want to transition to the next level; especially from subsistence to fully commercial and innovative agriculture, or into more complex tech-enabled businesses. This programme will be presented in a blending learning format, incorporating workshops and online learning, as well as three blocks of three days each of contact learning, and can follow on from the foundations of farm business success course.


“We want to help new farmers get onto the land, we want to develop subsistence farmers into commercial farmers and we want to develop a powerful and successful, diverse agribusiness sector –  radically transforming the agricultural supply chain to the benefit not just of the country but to so many people who have been deliberately excluded from the agricultural sector for a century,” says Drotskie.


  • If you would like to know more about these courses please email Dr Drotskie at adrid@henleysa.ac.zaor call 011 808 0860. Henley Business School Africa is a triple internationally accredited business school; the number 1 business school in the world with the potential to network (Economist 2017); and, the number 1 business school in Africa for executive education (FT 2018), as well as the Number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR.Africa 2018, 2019 and 2020).