Networking With Private Sector- Key To Agricultural Development And Sustainability In Africa

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One of the core problems identified during the brainstorming session at the Youth Agribusiness development initiative #YADI14 workshop was the non-existence of a network of well-educated and motivated young entrepreneurs around rural agribusiness service cluster (Hubs) that attract private sector investors for long time sustainable development.

It was identified as a threat to one of the three major objectives of the workshop; Identification of strategies for the empowerment of rural youth in agriculture based on tailored pathways that offer opportunities in agribusiness, local service provision, and market-oriented agriculture, highlighted for the workshop.

The brainstorming session which comprised 25 participants including 5 members of IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) ensured the participants discussed the core problem and later “spelt” out the sub problems for the core problem, while unanimously defined the “well-educated” aforementioned in the core problem statement as “Post- Secondary School learner”.

Although, the participants were initially unsure what the core problem was really about, which could possibly be as a result of their differing levels of exposure as ranging from National youth corps, representatives from AfDB, SARD-SC and some African government parastatals.

One of the sub problems mentioned were;

–     Limited number of functional and dynamic youth groups engaging in agriculture, particularly in rural areas. The group emphasized that solving the problem of each African country’s economy through Agriculture using the youth as the major stakeholder would not be effective if not taken to the rural level so as to give a balance in the effects of the solution between rural and urban communities.

–     Information dissemination is a critical tool for promoting both national and continental development especially in Agriculture. Although, African governments have been developing several structures to implement many programs geared towards efficient and effective information dissemination with a view to improving agricultural production and rural development, however, limited or no access to communication technologies to allow for information dissemination in the agriculture sector among the rural youth was identified as another sub problem.

Other key sub problems highlighted;

–     Lack of business and communication skills, value chain development and capacity building training that allows independent farmers and youth to form alliances and lobby for funding from interested organizations.

–     Non effective, gender sensitive, national strategy that links existing youth agric-organizations to agricultural financing agencies.

–     Non-existence of government or private sector to facilitate linkages between academic institutes (Agricultural graduates) and existing agric-businesses to create a dynamic job market with a balance of supply and demand.

The workshop continues tomorrow, 29th of May, 2014, to further deliberate on the solutions and respective objectives to the problems mentioned. Express your opinion about the problems and likely solutions by using the hashtag #YADI14 on twitter and Facebook.

Blogpost by  by  Adefioye Adedayo, IYA member and a social media reporter for the #YADI14

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