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How can agriculture be made attractive to African youths?

23.04.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Africa is one of the continents whose natural resources and assets are still raw, unexploited and unprocessed, thus keeping her at the buying or consuming corner of the global economic scale. There is need to improve on activities such as mineral extraction, innovation, development, technology and most importantly agriculture. Due to these lapses, there is a low employment rate, poverty and hunger hitting on the minds of African youths. Regrettably, African Youths are no longer interested in agriculture, a sector with diverse employment opportunities and the potential to reduce poverty and hunger. Recent statistics show that 30% of the African population is made up of youths and about ¾ of the 30% live in rural areas that depend on agriculture for survival; but are not interested in it.

WHY AFRICAN YOUTHS ARE NOT ATTRACTED TO AGRICULTURE

Africa embraced technology faster than any other innovation that has ever come into the continent which is being incorporated into almost every business environment and into the daily activities of every African especially the young. Young Africans have drifted from agriculture possibly because of the following reasons;

Highly Technical

Despite the fact that agriculture is attributed to the poor and less educated in rural Africa, it still somewhat requires some knowledge, skills and technics. Since young people lack this, they tend to scare away from this activity.

Attracted to technologically advanced jobs

African youths are more attracted by the office table because study programs such as social and management sciences, education and technology. Very few educational systems make provisions for formal agricultural education; which is pushing away youths.

Considered as uncomfortable

At the sight of a rural farmer, a young African see a dirty, tired and suffering person especially under unfavourable rains. This portrays an uncomfortable scene and gives them the perception that agriculture is difficult.

Experience of their parents

The children of African parents who depended solely on agriculture to fern for their families and provide them education grown to realize that the revenue from agricultural sales is not quite feasible and has not made any any remarkable change in the lives of their parents or neighbours and friends. This is a repelling factor for them towards agriculture.

Lack of incentives, capital and resources

Many African governments do not provide farmers with funds, equipment and farm inputs to subsidize their especially rural small scale farmers; even when they do it’s not enough to meet up their needs. This is limits them from expanding and improving farming methods leading to low quality and harvests. Farmers pick up a lot of illness from mosquito bites and injuries which can be treated in the health facilities but since they are not often available, it also goes a long way to discourage youths.

Low returns on investments

Sometimes farmers spend much money on farm inputs, equipment or to hire more labour but since yields are not certain, they might end up not having as much returns; this makes it less attractive to young Africans.

Low prices market prices

African rural markets are often neglected and price control is not done, as a result, buyers from urban areas take advantage of the desperate farmers and buy very cheap. This makes agriculture look less profitable thus scaring away youths.

Lack of transport infrastructure

Road infrastructure is one major issue for farmers in many rural areas and even when available, they are depleted or inaccessible. Many young Africans therefore do not like to take involve in agriculture because of the difficulty in transportation.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO DRAW AFRICAN YOUTHS TOWARDS AGRICULTURE?

Organizations and governments should sensitize the youths to know that agriculture is the key to development in the near future.

Governments should create standardization agencies to monitor the quality of farm products and control the prices.

Governments and investors should also establish large scale farm schemes, fund them and create employment for the youths.

Young entrepreneurs and small scale farmers should be given incentives, loan schemes and equipment to help subsidize their expenditures.

Agricultural Schools, research programs and seminars should be established to educate and empower young minds in Agricultural research and education.

Associations and cooperatives unions should be encouraged and their activities monitored by the government to encourage farmers and provide them a sure and steady market.

Since African youths are more attracted to technology, it can be incorporated into the agricultural sector by the stakeholders. Drones for monitoring, tractors/trucks for transportation, subsoilers, rotators, stone pickers, computers and phones for research and marketing should be made available for farmers. This will facilitate stuck taking, accounts processing and the farming processes for farmers and make them less stressful and ensure quality results.

The world in a few years to come will depend on Africa for a great quantity of food, the question now is; If African youths do not take opportunities in agriculture today who will feed the 9.20 Billion expected world population in 2050? This will also ensure food security, create employment; consequently reduce poverty and improve the African economy.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image : google image

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