The Engagement of Youth Entrepreneurship in Agricultural Transformation in Africa Intititive conceptualization workshop kicked off yesterday at Conference Cente IITA Ibadan Nigeria. The workshop organised by The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) partnership with the Africa Development Bank(AfDB), International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD) kicked off with quiet a large audience of youth who included the IITA Youth Agripreneurs, serving youth corps members, representatives of youth organizations like GYIN, YPARD etc , other stakeholders, international donors and of course representative of civil society from across Africa who all through the day’s event were engaged in discussions and brainstorming sessions. The main objective is to have the input of the participants in the conceptualization of an Africa wide YOUTH IN AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (YADI).
Following the goodwill messages and key note addresses from the organizer and partner organisation during the early part of the event, the participant fell into groups to identify the core problems and their causes as it relates to the engagement of youth in Agriculture in Africa paying attention to these five broad areas of concern drawn out from a pre-workshop survey carried out.
- Lack of established agribusiness development initiatives to advance training in vocational agriculture in order to demonstrate and promote opportunities for youth
- Lack of initiative to backstop (through intensive and modular training programs) rural enterprise development with quality science and action research to develop products and technology that attract the youth
- In existence of network of well educated and motivated young entrepreneurs around rural agribusiness service cluster (hubs) that attracts private sector investors and long term sustainable development
- Gender inequality
- In existence of skilled youth mobilized to operate as service providers to the large farming community engaged in market oriented agriculture.
Five groups were formed and each focused on analysing these issues raised. For example, I decided to join the group on gender inequality. In this group we worked on identifying the broader under laying factors that affects the involvement of young women in agriculture. These includes,
- Lack of technical literacy
- Cultural practices
- Inadequate legal status for land ownership and property right
- Poor representation in decision making
- Lack of skills in ICT
- Skill gap in literacy levels
It is interesting to note that the youth were at the fore front of these discussions and this will go on throughout the workshop. On day 2 of the workshop, the youth will take the stage to present to the audience what they have discussed in the groups and afterward go back to brainstorm to draw out solutions to this problems. Time and again it has been said that to solve problem, we have to take ownership and that is what is happening here. It is my hope and strong believes that the conclusions reached at this workshop will be translated into actions across the continent and soon we began to see it positive effects.
You too can be part of this by contributing through social media using the #YADI14
Blog Post by Olawale OJO , one of the Social Medial Reporters for the workshop