Two sisters, both members of Brechin JAC, are soon to be heading for the African state of Malawi on a study tour organised by the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth (RASC).
Deborah and Kirstene Hair were brought up on the family farm at Mains of Ardovie near Brechin.
Although they work outside agriculture they have never lost their interest in farming and everything associated with it.
Deborah, 27, is now a digital executive for Culture Republic based in Glasgow and Edinburgh and was Scotland’s Young Farmer of the Year in 2010.
She is Brechin JAC’s ladies’ club leader.
Kirstene, 24, is executive assistant to Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thomson Publishing in Dundee.
She has been a member of Brechin JAC for eight years and has been club treasurer.
Speaking of the tour, Kirstene said: “Along with 18 other delegates from around the world we will travel from Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, down to Blantyre in the south.
“Throughout the two weeks we will be visiting governmental bodies, young farmers’ groups, a mango farm, tea and rice plantations as well as visiting a local agricultural show.
“For us this will take the place of both the Angus and the Highland Show, but it is likely to be a very different experience!
“Being one of the world’s least developed countries, with an economy heavily reliant on agriculture, Malawi has consequently been dependent upon outside aid.
“However, in recent years a number of programmes have seen improvements in many areas including economic growth, healthcare and education, and we are very much looking forward to learning first hand about both the struggles and achievements which face this beautiful country.
“We are both very honoured to have been selected for the RASC trip and have been actively fund-raising over the past few months.”
The SAYFC International Trust has supported the trip, and Kirstene has been awarded a grant from the Cameron Travel Trust.
In order to help raise the final sum before the girls head off, they are to be running the bar at Brechin JAC’s barn dance on Saturday May 31 at Muirton of Ballochy.
“We would welcome everyone along the ‘old ones’ as well as the ‘young ones’,” said Deborah.
“The barn dance is always well attended and this year there is the one-off chance of seeing the Hair sisters on the ‘wrong’ side of the bar.”
John Cameron, chairman of the Cameron Travel Trust, said: “Malawi’s economy is very dependent on agriculture, and as Young Farmers Kirstene and Deborah will find the agriculture infrastructure of Malawi and the farmers of Malawi totally different to that of this country.
“For sure they will get a warm welcome from the Malawian farmers, who will be fascinated to hear all about farming in Scotland.
“The trust is also pleased to be offering travel assistance to a group of young farmers who are to visit Argentina in October.
“They will also visit some of my own farming relations in Argentina and see for themselves how the advantages of scale beneficially affect the cost of production in that vast country.”
Kirstene and Deborah will be reporting back to The Courier on their return from Malawi.