The Agricultural Professional Fellows Program (APFP) – South Africa is an initiative coordinated by Market Matters Inc., in partnership with the National Agricultural Marketing Council, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, the KZN Agricultural Development Agency, and the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA). The program selects an annual cohort of early-to-mid career agricultural professionals (Fellows), who participate in a year-long capacity building program, including a ten-day study-tour of academic, research, and government institutions in the United States. To enhance the immediate and long-term benefits of the international engagement, the program also includes activities focused on skill-building in leadership, conflict management, critical thinking, professional conduct, as well as specific research skills such as methodology, academic writing, and presentation. The overall goal of the program is to enrich the skillset of South African agricultural professionals, who in turn will use their experience and connections to the international agricultural economics profession to enhance the agriculture and agribusiness sectors of South Africa.
During their ten-day tour of the U.S., Fellows participate in diverse experiences to complement their professional development and learning. They begin at the Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY, where they meet with various students and faculty members engaged in their fields, as well as tour labs and farms, attend seminars, and practice their own professional presentations. Fellows then travel to Tuskegee University, where they attend and present at the Professional Agricultural Workers’ Conference, and also visit relevant cultural sites. They complete their tour in Washington, DC, visiting development institutions such as IFPRI, the World Bank, and IMF, as well as political institutions like the White House and the South African Embassy.