Agricultural technicians assist the agriculturists in their work and help with the collection of information. They also give practical advice and information to the farming industry.
Agricultural technicians assist agriculturists and farmers with a variety of tasks related to different aspects of agriculture. These include planning, research and the application of agricultural knowledge. They help farmers to make the best use of their land without damaging it and may suggest terracing land in the event of erosion or growing hedges to act as windbreaks.
They serve as technical advisers on soil and water conservation committees. They assist veterinary surgeons and farmers in the treatment of diseases and the general handling of animals. They also instruct on the classification and grading of skins, wool, and mohair.
There are three main kinds of agricultural technicians, namely agricultural resource technicians, agricultural extension technicians and agricultural research technicians. Depending on the field chosen, the nature of the work will be as follows:
Agricultural resource technician: The agricultural resource technician works together with the agricultural resource officer. They are involved in the classification, description and plotting of a region's natural resources.
Agricultural extension technician: The agricultural extension technician assists the agricultural extension officer. They collect agricultural information to determine the needs for agricultural extension. This information is then used to plan agricultural extension activities. The agricultural extension technician is also involved in the classification of agricultural resources and the planning of farms. They advise farmers on specific farming methods.
Agricultural research technician: The agricultural research technician helps the agricultural researcher with their research but can also undertake their own research project in one of the following fields: Botany, Agricultural Microbiology, Analytical Chemistry, Zoology, Veterinary Science, Food Technology, Agricultural Meteorology and Soil Science.
Some engineering technicians, namely civil, mechanical, electrical/electronic and civil agricultural engineering technicians, are also involved in the agricultural industry. They use their knowledge of engineering to solve problems with regard to irrigation schemes, soil conservation, agricultural structures, agricultural mechanization and the use of electronics and electricity.
- being able to solve problems
- being able to utilize resources fully
- being able to work without supervision
- working with other people
- working outdoors
- a results-driven career, with time and other pressures, the success of projects often depend on making the correct recommendations
An agricultural technician should:
- have an interest in agriculture - soil, plants and animals;
- enjoy nature and working outdoors;
- have good communication and interpersonal skills;
- work well with others;
- be practical and have good problem-solving skills;
- be enthusiastic and responsible;
- be organised and observant;
- have patience and perseverance;
- have good health and physical stamina.
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Science
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences, Agricultural Sciences
Diploma: NMMU, TUT, CUTFS, UNISA
To become an agricultural resource technician or an agricultural extension technician, the minimum requirement is the NDip. Agriculture: Resource Utilization, offered at the universities of technology of Mangosuthu and Pretoria.
To become an agricultural research technician, any of the following diplomas at a university of technology will lead to eventual qualification:
The N.Dip. Agricultural Research: Botany; N.Dip. Nature Conservation; N.Dip. Analytical Chemistry; N.Dip. Agriculture: Animal Production; N.Dip. Veterinary echnology; or N.Dip. Food Technology.
Engineering technicians need a National Diploma in Electrical, Civil or Mechanical Engineering.
A candidate can also apply to join the government service as a pupil technician. Theoretical training is offered by universities of technology for a part of each year. The remainder of the training period is devoted to practical work. At the end of each year of training, examinations are conducted and on the successful completion of the three-year course the National Diploma for Technicians is issued. After obtaining diplomas, pupil technicians are promoted to technician positions.
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
- Directorate of Agricultural Development
- Department of Constitutional Development
- Veterinary and botanical laboratories
- Various research stations
- Self-employment, as consultant to farmers and agricultural co-operations
SA Society for Agricultural Technologists
Agricultural Research Council
P O Box 8783
Tel: (012) 427-9700
Fax: (012) 342-3948
Department of Agriculture,
Private Bag X 116