Agriculture has moved from the “old people’s occupation” to what young people now find lucrative

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African leaders plan to provide employment opportunities for a minimum of 30% of young people in the agricultural sector by 2025.
This promise is laudable until the milestone can be achieved. Several factors are challenging the involvement of young people in agriculture. Most young ones in the continent consider agriculture as the profession of the old.
Despite having a median age of 19 years old, the average farmers’ age in Africa is 60 years old. Most young people regard agriculture as ineffective, socially immobile, and technologically bland. The change to urbanization and urban migration further stresses this point.

Recently, some youths are beginning to see the wide benefits of agriculture that go beyond subsistence farming.
It has moved from the “old people’s occupation” to what young people now find lucrative. Nonetheless, more work is needed. The government in each African country is to depict agribusiness to the youth as a reputable and respected field. Most importantly, the government should create capital backings to the interest of the youths in agriculture.
To make agriculture more viable for the young people, government or responsible agribusinesses should provide funding for them.
Other issues that hinder the engagement of young people in agriculture are the low productivity and profitability of the sector.
As much as agriculture looks lucrative, it does not provide total productivity. The present state and future of agriculture in Africa will be dependent on the level of innovation geared at the value chain. Innovations will come in aspects of new policies and programs that will help young people get a new outlook on agriculture.
Governments like Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Rwanda who have created the link between agricultural growth and productivity are rapidly reducing poverty in their regions. The growth of agricultural productivity connects to other aspects of the economy.

Lack of adequate training also stands as a barrier to youth involvement in agriculture. Young people in the rural areas, where we still have the expanse of land, have little or no knowledge of new agricultural technologies and agribusiness. Some agricultural agencies in the past years and recently are providing necessary training for young people in Africa.
These trainings and support are to enable young people to develop their leadership skills and vital knowledge.
For instance, The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) trained youths on changing their perception of agriculture. They are trained to view agriculture in their “definition of cool business” and as a profitable business.
Other initiatives like the Mali Agribusiness Hub, ENABLE Youth Program, DINFEL, YEAP, and CADER have offered training on different aspects of agriculture to youths in Africa

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As new aspirations are growing in the heart of youths in Africa, the government and private sector can strengthen these aspirations by projecting some efforts of youth agribusiness in Africa, enhancing learning and information, supporting youth agribusiness projects, and investing in youth agribusiness in the rural areas.
The 2017 World Food Prize laureate, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, stated that the future of Africa’s youth lies in agriculture. However, it may be just a statement, not an act, if there is no involvement of the said group. Involving more youth in agriculture and agribusiness is crucial to help African countries achieve development goals

read full report: technology to change Africa’s agriculture sector

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