“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” –Franz Kafka, being a youth is a very important stage of one’s life and that beauty of dreaming is the most vital strength of a youth especially in Africa where challenges or if you want to say problems abound in Agriculture.
Africa needs to build the human capital that allows young people to escape poverty; terrorism and violence, to live better and more fulfilling lives. The human capital formed in youth is thus an important determinant of long-term growth. Hence, the need for making sure that the youth is well prepared for the future, which is enormously important to the course of employment generation, poverty reduction and economic growth.
Youths have boundless of strengths, few are:
The physical strength“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Youth are risk takers“If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.” Drew Barrymore
Youth are great adapters and adopters of technology “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein
Youth easily interactive and network “It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” Dan Simmons
The Challenges of Agriculture in Africa as an Opportunity
Perception is the main challenge of agriculture in Africa. The idea of using old methods to produce crops (the use of hoes and cutlasses) which makes it looks stressful , agriculture is for the people in the rural areas, agriculture is a tool or sector for poverty eradication, agriculture is a retirement job to mention a few should not be considered as challenges.
We as youth should start to see agriculture as a business, explore the value chains for example investment in inputs → production → post-harvest and aggregation → processing → wholesale and retail →consumption. Production is only a part of agriculture being innovative in adding little value like processing of a farm commodity, increases the market value of that commodity.
Modern tools like the internet (ICT) , developing application, that would to link the market to farmers and farmers to farmers in procuring chemicals, seeds, renting of machinery, fertilizers, and other inputs cut out the intermediaries and reduce corruption.
The public sector, the government should put in place policies (which involves the youth) that would encourage the participation of the private sector investment providing soft loans to youths to set up their agriculture enterprise.
Let us as youth see opportunities out these few challenges and more that our beloved continent and other continents face, innovate and make a business out of those problems.
The Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative #YADI14 may be over but we should not stop engaging on both Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #YADI14
Blogpost by Adesanya Omotomiwa, IYA member