Strategies for Attracting Young People into Agriculture in Africa
- We must invest in the education of young people on modern agricultural tools and technologies. The fact is that young people are ashamed of associating themselves with agriculture because in our schools, agriculture is still being presented as one of those traditional practices done using crude instruments.
We need to tell our young people that modern technologies exist which make agriculture cool and sexy. In addition, we need to educate young people that agriculture goes beyond crop cultivation. We must expose them to the other sexy agricultural value chains and encourage them to participate in these value chains.
- Also, we must provide the infrastructure young people need to be successful in agriculture. Most of the times, young people are scared of venturing into agriculture because of the enormous infrastructure related challenges in the sector. If infrastructure is fixed, these fears will be allayed and more and more young people will throng the agricultural space.
- Importantly too, we must provide young people access to cheap capital to enable them set up enterprises along the agricultural value chain. The cost of capital in Africa is too high and and nearly inaccessible to young graduates without credit history or eligible collateral. The government must therefore put in place funding mechanisms that provide grants to young people desirous of venturing into agriculture in Africa.
- Access to markets is also very critically to promoting the profitability of agriculture and by extension encouraging young people to participate in Agriculture. We must therefore provide access to markets by developing good road networks, ports and rail infrastructure as well as airports to facilitate perishable products handling and distribution.
- Access to processing and storage facilities will reduce post harvest losses and by extension increase profitability in agricultural commodities production. When young people are sure not to make losses in commodity production, the risk associated with agricultural businesses will reduce and more and more commercial farms will be set up as even the banks become even more willing to lend to the agricultural sector.
There is no better time to make agriculture in Africa as inclusive as possible than now. With more young people in the agricultural space, innovation and enterprise will come into agriculture and productivity will remarkable increase, thus, reducing the number of people in Africa that go to bed hungry everyday.
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