“IITA is 47 years and has been into research of Tropical crops. It is why they have focused on cassava which is a staple food across Africa. IITA is also into capacity building trainings. The reality of what happens in Africa is why we are here. Encouraging the youth therefore is key to reducing unemployment. Several youths take up casual manual Labour at IITA – which involved manual Labour, about 90 percent of them interviewed were mostly graduates”
These words of the DG of IITA – Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, brings us to these questions the older ones needs to ask themselves: if they were younger and are faced with the challenges youth face today, especially unemployment what will be their fate? This will assist them in realizing that there should be less talk and more concrete actions. If we can just create 10 jobs per country across Africa, empowering our youth in Agribusiness it will go a long way to reduce unemployment in Africa as the youth unemployment in Africa is a time bomb, we must therefore proceed to action without much talk.
In order to create concrete actions, the older ones need to know the facts stated by Dr. Ken Dashiell: Youths are interested in Agriculture and agribusiness, they however are not interested in doing agribusiness the way their parents or grandparents are doing. However African Youth on the other hand should throw away that African mentality of keeping quiet when they are among older ones, they should speak up. Sadly, Africa are only able to achieve only 10% of the potential productivity, making youths not interested in agriculture and agribusiness. We hope to reverse this trend. There is a need for agriculture exchange market, efficient Labour and infrastructure through effective storage and partnerships.
Even though, the largest percent of the population are into Agriculture – 70% active farming population however the proportion of youth in agriculture is relatively low. In Nigeria farming has been left in the hands of ageing farmers. However, Youths should need to work with the realities on the ground. Youths will not be happy working in agriculture, if they are not happy with the pay.
First, we need to put research into use. Sadly africa has the highest population of hungry and malnourished people on earth. Unemployment is unacceptable high in Africa where we have a lot of resources necessary, therefore a transformation is necessary. Agriculture is not a humanitarian aid, it should be looked at as a business. Agric has to be restructured to include technology and business to make it attractive to youths.
Africa should scale up, rather than thinking on just pilot schemes. The use of cassava flour has saved African government millions of dollars in import bills of wheat. Youth should be provided with the right skills required to be effective entrepreneurs. It is not only science that is needed, it is financial support, creating. An enabling environment is necessary.partnerships.
In all, the main focus is for Agriculture to be transformed from a subsistence way of life to a fully sustainable and business oriented venture run effectively by Youths.
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Blogpost by Kalu Samuel, SM Manager AABS Agribusiness Consortium and a social media reporter for the #YADI14.