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Photo of Moraka Nakedi Makhura

Moraka Nakedi Makhura

Head of Economic Research & Business Intelligence, Land & Agricultural Bank of South Africa

South Africa

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Moraka Nakedi Makhura is a deeply respected leader in the agricultural policy community in South Africa. He was the first black President of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (2005 – 2007). His charismatic leadership and influence on the Agricultural Economics Profession shaped the transition of the association into one representative in membership and focus to reflect national realities. His spirit of serving his country, profession and people sees him serving on many agriculture, agribusiness and policy-related committees. As Head of Economic Research at South Africa’s Land Bank, he leads the analytical team charged with economic and agricultural policy development.  He started out his professional career as an agricultural economist in the Department of Agriculture (in Limpopo), and prominence came to being when became a lecturer at the University of Pretoria.  At all times he  retains his passion for developing young people and the farmers.  Through his popular contributions in farmers’ publications, he has been proclaimed “The Great Teacher – Mwalimu” and “The Friend of the Farmer”.  The Friend of the Farmer concept is about encouraging stakeholders in agriculture to relate to farmers candidly as true friends – rather than senior vs junior partner.  This transcends to how students should be brought up in their careers.

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I was born in the rural communal area of the current Limpopo Province of South Africa. My family was poor and I looked how my Dad planted carrots and then we enjoy eating it. It stimulated my interest in growing vegetables – and food more generally, because as a family we needed it.
  • I also admired an extension officer working in the village, which gave me the idea that farming can be improved and that professional training can make that possible.  
  • It was also encouraging to see farmers starting seasonal farm operations in our village of Eldorado, which happened to be endowed with underground water.  Giving assistance through the stages and activities of crop and livestock production gave great insights on the breakthroughs and challenges of the farmers
  • As a result, I was motivated to get the optimal level of training and career in agriculture that can inspire youth, while encouraging farmers to stay on the farms,  

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Students need more practical experience and exposure.
  • Bring flexibility into the system so that the student can discover himself/herself –  I found the US system is very flexible and supportive.
  • Universities need to support (or link with) primary and secondary schools and to provide feedback to them about agriculture.
  • It is not only about the crop or livestock, but the whole complete institutional system.
  • Critical to train students to focus on the “farmer” and the “business of farming”

Career highlights

  • Head of Economic Research & Business Intelligence, Land & Agricultural Bank of South Africa.
  • Member of Food Security Policy Forum; Member of Advisory Panel (SABC Thobela FM), Member of Council (Agricultural Research Council); Member of Board of Directors (Joburg Fresh Produce Market); Member of Boss of the Year Club; Director (Makhureng One).
  • Policy analyst, Agriculture and Rural Development, Development Bank of Southern Africa.
  • Lecturer in Agricultural Economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Pretoria.
  • Deputy Director of Agricultural Economics & Marketing, Limpopo Department of Agriculture.
  • Agricultural Economist, Lebowa Department of Agriculture.

Educational background

  • Primary school:              
    • Tlona Primary School.
  • Secondary school:          
    • Kgalushi High School.
  • University:                     
    • BSc, Agricultural Economics, Animal Production, Economics & Business Economics, University of the North (now University of Limpopo).
    • BCom Hons –Farm Business Management, Organisational Development & Behaviour, University of South Africa.
    • MSc Agricultural Economics, Economics & Applied Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, USA.
    • PhD, Agricultural Economics, University of Pretoria.
    • Higher Diploma in Municipal Governance, University of Johannesburg (RAU).
    • Speaking French, Alliance Fracaise de Soweto.
    • Senior Management Programme, University of Pretoria.