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;
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
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