“It is also noted that the agricultural sector is yet to fully exploit the potential of the youth as the average age of a farmer in Zimbabwe is 55 years and life expectancy averages between 55-60 years.
Among Zimbabwean youths farming is largely unattractive owing to perception of agriculture as a last carrier of last resort, one of drudgery and low monetary benefits.”
THE youth in Agribusiness conference kicked off today in the Rwandan capital Kigali amid expectations that the symposium will promote participation of Africa’s demographic dividend in the agriculture sector through harnessing modern technologies.
The conference hosted with the support of the Rwandan government, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and African Union (AU) will further aim to foster an exchange among stakeholders on knowledge and best practices regarding the interfaces between agriculture, youth employment, entrepreneurship, ICT innovations, leading to prioritizing interventions going forward.
According to FAO over sixty percent of Africa’s estimated 1.2 billion people are under the age of 25; yet with little job creation currently in the rural areas where the majority of the population resides, there is a growing uncertainty over the continent’s preparedness to tap this resource.
Tens of millions of jobs will have to be created each year in rural areas for Africa to harness the dividends of this youthful population.
Considering agriculture as an essential driver of economic development and an area of great opportunities for young people in Africa, harnessing opportunities in agribusiness entrepreneurship and innovations, including in ICT innovations, along the value chains, contributes to improving the sector’s image, increases productivity and returns to investment and provides new employment opportunities, hence attracting more young people.
African countries are looking for ways to engage the youth to participate in farming by using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as they bid to boost job opportunities and strengthening efforts against hunger.
In Zimbabwe the ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has established the Youth Desk in order to empower the youth.
The ministry believes youth participation in agriculture offer a dynamic workforce that is innovative, have a high up take of technological know-how and the ability to take on significant level of risk.
It says the agricultural sector presents huge opportunity for the creation of employment to absorb the youth and ensure achievement of food security for future generations.
It is also noted that the agricultural sector is yet to fully exploit the potential of the youth as the average age of a farmer in Zimbabwe is 55 years and life expectancy averages between 55-60 years.
Among Zimbabwean youths farming is largely unattractive owing to perception of agriculture as a last carrier of last resort, one of drudgery and low monetary benefits.
Also information on access to markets, factors of production including land and financing remain extremely limited hindering adequate engagement of youth in agriculture.