“Your mind can either be your strength or your weakness, you decide.”

Alina Dimakatso Ntsiapane



Organisation / Company

International Fund for Agricultural Development


Some believe that South Africa’s youth are apathetic, but Alina Dimakatso Ntsiapane, 28, is not one of them. She says they are driving entrepreneurship across a variety of sectors, and harnessing their creative energy is vital. Alina is excited about the growing emphasis on inclusive agricultural development in which smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, are empowered with knowledge, resources and access to markets.

Her work for the International Fund for Agricultural Development is about promoting pro-poor agricultural efficiency and producing research outputs to inform evidence-based policymaking, which she is well equipped to do: she has four degrees in agriculture behind her name. Her victories in international competitions means she is able to leverage her credibility to help secure funding for initiatives that empower small farmers, who she teaches techniques that help to improve their yields. To date, she has trained more than 450 farmers.

She has her own YouTube channel that promotes agricultural efficiency. Alina is optimistic about the future of food production because there are many advancements in biotechnology and precision agriculture will optimise resource use and mitigate the effects of climate change.


  • Bachelor of Agriculture Management, University of the Free State
  • Honours in Agriculture
  • Masters in Sustainable Agriculture
  • PhD in Sustainable Agriculture


Winning the world champion title in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (Ifama) International Case Study Competition (2020-2021) in food and agribusiness, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Capacity Development Challenge in 2022.

I have trained over 450 small-scale farmers to improve their efficiency and competitiveness in the global market, significantly enhancing food security in South Africa.

I have also empowered unemployed community women by teaching them how to process wool, enabling them to earn a living and support their families. Known affectionately as the “charity lady,” I have led numerous initiatives to improve food security. For example, I produced vegetables and fruits for students in need at the University of the Free State’s community garden, donated seeds and provided training to an orphanage in the Bloemfontein community.

I was also featured on South African national television, offering guidance on starting home gardens.

These experiences taught me the importance of community engagement, practical training, and the transformative power of agricultural knowledge in addressing food security challenges.


Yes, several mentors and role models have significantly influenced my journey, especially Professor Jan Swanepoel, who guided me during my PhD studies. Their expertise in agricultural economics and unwavering support helped shape my academic and professional trajectory. They encouraged me to participate in international competitions, which led to my victories there.

Additionally, I have been inspired by the work of Dr Yong Nyam; his dedication to improving food security and his innovative approaches to agricultural challenges have motivated me to pursue similar goals in my career. His example has shown me the power of scientific research and its potential to transform lives on a global scale. These mentors and role models have provided valuable guidance, knowledge and inspiration, helping me navigate challenges and stay committed to my mission of enhancing food security and agricultural sustainability.