The Institute

THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS (SAIAE) is the body representing the discipline of agricultural engineering in South Africa. We are a voluntary association registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) for Agricultural Engineers, Technicians and Technologists.

The aims of the Institute are:

  • The promotion and development of the science and technology of agricultural engineering;
  • The promotion of the agricultural engineering profession;
  • The promotion and encouragement of research and training in agricultural engineering;
  • The dissemination of knowledge, information and ideas in the field of agricultural engineering through meetings and publications;
  • The creation of a mutual meeting opportunity for agricultural engineers and related technologists and technicians in South Africa;
  • The establishment of a body that can speak with authority on agricultural engineering issues in South Africa and that may also stipulate standards, norms and codes or make recommendations in this regard;
  • The protection and promotion of the interests of members of the profession and mutual support to each other on technical and other areas.

Why Register With SAIAE?


Registering with SAIAE: Provides exposure to issues concerning the engineering profession and the latest technologies. Creates a collective think tank on matters of importance to members Provides guidance to young members who want to register professionally Provides a platform for members to address issues that they feel strongly about Provides opportunities to influence a member’s career through links with other organisations, government, and the general public SAIAE, through its international agreements and representation, ensures international recognition of the professional status of its members SAIAE is recognised as a learned society in the international sphere SAIAE provides bursaries to students SAIAE provides an events database of numerous CPD opportunities and other professional happenings SAIAE looks after its members’ general professional interests

Download the members registration form

What is agricultural engineering?


Agricultural Engineering is also known as Bioresources Engineering is the application of engineering principles to agriculture and other bio-based industries. It integrates scientific principles and engineering practice to solve practical problems in the production and processing of bio-based products such as food, feed, fiber, and fuels. Agricultural Engineering connects the living world of plants, soil, water, and animals with the technology of engineering. i.e. systems, structures, and machines.

Become an agricultural engineer

Becoming an agricultural engineer requires training with an accredited institution offering an Agricultural Engineering degree.

In South Africa, the following institutions currently offer agricultural engineering qualifications:

The University of KwaZulu-Natal

Bachelor of Science in Engineering: Agricultural Engineering

The University of Venda

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

The University of the Freestate

is setting up an accredited agricultural engineering degree expected to be available from 2023

Benefits of hiring an agricultural engineer


Agricultural Engineers have the skills to design, manage and maintain and optimise systems, equipment, and structures, which process biological resources sustainably. Have the technical capacity to optimise agricultural systems and train.

No, over and under-sizing – saving on energy and running costs E.g., can confirm the correct infrastructure sizing for a given herd size and design the layouts for optimum handling.

Multi-disciplinary knowledge improves the management of contracts & the ability to understand a variety of technical specialties. Develop and manage solutions to achieve agricultural scientist’s and farmer’s agricultural needs. E.g. Soil conservation, agro-processing facilities, dip tanks, stock watering boreholes, holding pens, earth dams, land use planning, Water Use license applications, etc.

Critical Skill


Agricultural Engineering is an identified critical skill in South Africa in relation to application for a Critical Skills Visa or Permanent Residence. Many non-South African agricultural engineers approach the institute for verification of possession of this critical skill, thus the necessary information is detailed below.

Download the critical skills list below

Agricultural Engineering happens to be the first profession written on the list. Verification of possession of this skill is received from the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) www.ecsa.co.za as the overarching statutory professional body recognised by SAQA for all engineering professions. Therefore, verification of possession of this critical skill for visa purposes is issued by ECSA and not SAIAE. SAIAE can provide supporting documentation in the form of membership certificates and reference letters for registered members of SAIAE. To register with SAIAE apply below.

Download the members application form