In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture” , since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.
Youth, women hold agribusiness power
There are two strong arguments — pragmatic and strategic — on why we need to get greater women and youth involvement in agriculture. Let’s deal with the pragmatic first. Women make up half of the population and provide 40 per cent of the labour in crop production in Africa. Moreover, Africa is a continent of young people — 60 per cent of the population is under 24 years, and 10—12 million young people join the workforce every year. Any way you look at it, that is a lot of people, who have a lot to offer in terms of producing food and fibre. The more strategic way of looking at it comes back to the old saying, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” If we focus our development efforts on only men, and especially older farmers, the solutions that we will come up with will be limited. Bring in women and young people, and we open up new horizons. Women give higher importance to feeding their families and educating their children than men do. […] Likewise, people born since the mid-1990s have never known a world without smartphones, a key technology that is opening up opportunities by giving farmers access to agricultural knowledge and advice, weather forecasts, digital banking and market information. And these young people are the ones who are tech savvy and can develop these solutions. But like women, they are hampered by lack of opportunities and access to the knowledge, skills and resources they need to take their enthusiasm from idea to successful enterprise.The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has been supporting youth in agriculture through initiatives such as Pitch AgriHack and the Centre’s focus on the use of new technologies such as drones to facilitate agricultural transformation in Africa.
Ghana’s youth should take advantage of tomatoes farming
The district chief executive for Berekum West, Isaac Osei has urged the youth to take advantage of vegetable farming especially tomatoes to better their lives. Addressing a farmers’ durbar at Fetentaa organised by the Vegetable Growers Association in the district, he encouraged the farmers and the youth to step up their farming activities from subsistence to the business level in order to earn more from their sweat. In a response to an appeal, the DCE assured them of the assembly’s readiness to help them establish a tomato market centre to create a ready market for them and also to aid the assembly in its revenue mobilisation. To drive home his commitment to support the farmers, he announced that the grading of farm roads in the area is to start, to ensure easy access to their farms and again make it easier to transport their produce to avoid them being locked up on the farms to rot, a situation he described as unfair to the hardworking farmers. Kwame Bamfo Kesse, chairman for the association, said the durbar is a means to interact with farmers and stakeholders on how to address various challenges facing them. He cited low financial support, unavailability of ready markets for their products and the difficulty in acquiring land for farming as some of the major challenges facing vegetable, especially tomato farmers in the area.
Making agriculture fashionable again: Young entrepreneurs are upgrading the image of African farming
In a long-sleeved shirt and jeans, expertly navigating eastern Rwanda’s bumpy back roads in a white four-wheel drive, Dieudonne Twahirwa looks nothing like the stereotypical African farmer. The 30-year-old owner of Gashora Farm knows what a difference that makes. “You need more role models,” he said, standing among knee-high rows of chilli plants. “If you have young farmers, they have land and they drive to the farm, (others) think, ‘Why can’t I do that?’” Twahirwa, a university graduate, bought a friend’s tomato farm six years ago for US$150. He made $1,500 back in two months. “You have to link (farming) with entrepreneurship and real numbers,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Many young Africans are abandoning rural areas, choosing not to toil in the fields – a job made tougher by climate change. But Twahirwa is one of a growing band of successful farmers working to jazz up agriculture’s image on the continent. Some 1,000 farmers now produce chillies for him. He is starting a fourth farm of his own, and exports fresh and dried chillies and oil to Britain, the United States, India and Kenya. Africa has the world’s youngest population and 65% of its uncultivated arable land. Yet accessing land and loans are difficult. African agriculture productivity is also low with crop yields just 56% of the international average, according to the United Nations. “Agriculture is mainly associated with suffering and no young person wants to suffer,” said Tamara Kaunda, who has put her career as a doctor on hold to buck this trend.
Making Agriculture Cool
At every conference she has attended on the youth, Nawsheen Hosenally has been frustrated to hear that agriculture is not ‘cool’. The 29-year-old graduate in agricultural extension and information systems knew she wanted to do something to redeem the image of agriculture among young people. So the Mauritian and her Burkanibe, journalist husband decided to co-founded Agribusiness TV. Content for the channel is viewed through the website where short video stories about successful youth entrepreneurs who have careers in agriculture are uploaded. “I had heard so much about how uncool agriculture was and realised no one changes this image but youth themselves,” Hosenally tells IPS. “Our tagline at Agribusiness TV is ‘seeing is believing’. The visuals showing success stories in agriculture have greater impact than, for instance, reading a publication. Slowly, youth are seeing agriculture differently.” With a little help from their mobile phones, apps, YouTube and Facebook, young entrepreneurs like Hosenally are changing the face of farming across Africa. Despite having 60 percent of the world’s arable and uncultivated land, the African continent is battling to eliminate hunger and poverty as the majority of its smallholder farmers are getting older, and realising lower crop yields than before. The likelihood of the agriculture sector spurring Africa’s economic turnaround are huge, as are the challenges of attracting young farmers to an industry employing more than 60 percent of the continent’s population.
Youth reap big using technology to market agricultural products
Graduating from university without a job is one of the biggest challenges Ugandan youth face but when nine dedicated individuals came together to form an online agribusiness network to market vegetables, life has never been the same, writes BAKER BATTE LULE. Deflated, hopeless and tired of looking for the unavailable jobs, nine youths under the banner ‘Youth Agripreneurs’ thought about how to leverage the information technology knowledge they had acquired from their various universities to make ends meet. They had the answer in agribusiness but were reluctant to embrace it. Many of them had grown up in peasant homes where agriculture was the main source of their livelihood. However, they grew up hating it because of all the disadvantages that came with it. The bad weather, lack of good seeds, fertilizers, fluctuating prices and, sometime nonexistent markets, among others; all combined to influence the youth that agriculture wasn’t a thing for them. To relieve some of their fears, organizations such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Makerere University and the National Agricultural Research Institute, among others, provided them with disease –free seedlings and biochemical products to fight pests.
The Future of Rural Youth in Developing Countries
Rural youth constitute over half of the youth population in developing countries and will continue to increase in the next 35 years. Without rural transformation and green industrialisation happening fast enough to create more wage employment in a sustainable manner, the vast majority of rural youth in developing countries have little choice but to work in poorly paid and unstable jobs or to migrate. As household dietary pattern is changing, new demands by a rising middle class for diversified and processed foods are creating new job opportunities in food-related manufacturing and services. Agro-food industries are labour-intensive and can create jobs in rural areas as well as ensure food security. Yet the employment landscape along the agro-food value chains is largely underexploited. This study looks at local actions and national policies that can promote agro-food value chains and other rural non-farm activities using a youth employment lens.
Youth in Agricultural Cooperatives: a two-way street?
Food & Business Knowledge Platform, 05,/04/2018
The world population is growing at a steady pace but in Africa the demographic changes are alarming. By 2030, it is expected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased to 42%. A significant proportion of rural youth are underemployed or unemployed, have marginal income, or limited career prospects. At the same time, there is a burning need to efficiently commercialize the agricultural sector to enhance food security and stimulate broader structural transformation. Engaging youth in agribusiness could provide a win-win solution to both these development problems, and agricultural cooperatives have an important role to play. This new report explores the potential advantages and challenges of cooperative membership for young women and men, and the advantages and challenges for cooperatives to increase youth participation.
Leveraging Youth Employment Opportunities in Agriculture in Rural Sectors in Africa
FAO Regional Conference for Africa, February 2018
Two-thirds of Africa’s population is aged 35 and below. African Heads of State and Government have devoted the year 2017 to “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”, in the context of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The determination to address youth employment is also evidenced by the Declaration at the 29th ordinary Summit of the AU held in July 2017 of 2018 – 2027 as the “African Decade for Technical, Professional and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment”. This paper discusses interventions for promoting youth employment and engagement in agri-food systems through: a) improving the enabling business environment; b) providing young women and men with the right skills and education; c) increasing the active participation of youth in policy processes; and d) enhancing rural-urban linkages.
Global Food Security Strategy Technical Guidance for Youth
Feed the Future, 20/02/2018
This technical guidance describes ways to optimize the intentional inclusion of youth issues into policy and programming and promote young people’s role in their design and implementation to reduce poverty, improve nutrition, and help men, women, and households become more resilient. It outlines how, in certain circumstances, youth-specific programming is needed to complement youth-inclusive activities and emphasizes empowering adolescent girls and young women.
Young Farmers Urged To Commercialise Agric
The Monitory, 09/10/2017
Young farmers have been urged to commercialise agriculture to contribute to food security as well as produce quality products that can compete with the regional market. An agricultural economist, Ernst Janovsky highlighted this recently during the Botswana Young Farmers Association (BYFA) workshop sponsored by Barclays Bank of Botswana, which was attended by 80 farmers and aspiring ones. The workshop aimed at addressing topics that affect farmers locally; information on what is needed for farmers to get loans from the commercial banks as well as how imports and exports contribute to the agricultural sector. Janovsky advised young farmers to be passionate about agriculture and always think of penetrating the regional market when producing as well as embrace technology. “ It is too late for Africa to develop infrastructure that is suitable for agriculture. This is where you as a farmer needs to grow up and find ways of making technology work for you,” he said.
EU-Nigeria business forum ends with focus on ICT, youths and women
The EU-Nigeria business forum has ended. The event raised hopes of economic prosperity driven by the private sector, women and youths. The forum also talked about the prospects of ICT as a critical economic enabler that supports GDP growth across horizontal sectors of the economy. Participants were encouraged to work to achieve the potentials of ICT tools available to integrate rural farmers into the agricultural value chain and maximize their profit. The forum had panel discussions that highlighted different economic perspectives. Some of which are a digital economy and the role of youths in economic transformation through ICT.The role of youths in developing the economy was also emphasised by participants eager to see youths as the engine of a broad-based economic transformation.
BEIGE Foundation partners Africa Lead, USAID to support youth in agribusiness
Ghana Web, 02/10/2017
BEIGE Foundation has partnered with Africa Lead and USAID to deliver Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Development Course to youth leaders in Ghana. The objective is to develop the capacity of entrepreneurs in agribusiness identification, planning and management in order to strengthen start-ups and expand existing entrepreneurs. The goal of the Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Development Course is to close the unemployment gap and address employment demands of youth and women in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. The CEO of BEIGE Group, Mike Nyinaku addressing the media at the Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp on Monday, October 2 at the Oak Plaza Hotel in Accra said the agreement between USAID and Africa Lead is to develop, support and sponsor young farmers in the agricultural and agribusiness sector so they thrive in their businesses, thereby making the sector look lucrative for others to take agriculture seriously because that is the aim of his foundation to help those in need. He, therefore, encouraged young farmers to take advantage of the 5-day short course programme by applying what they learn from it the best way they can to support their businesses.
The workshop will discuss and identify key issues and avenues relating to improving access to capital and profitability for youth-led e-agriculture businesses and develop a better understanding of the relevant and perspectives of 3D Printing and blockchain technology for the ACP agricultural and rural development sector.
Digital technology innovations are having an increasingly greater impact on the agricultural sector, and thereby, in many cases, improving the ease-of-doing-business. They have the potential for making profitable agricultural value chains, and improving production processes and exchanges for value chain actors and consumers. Over recent years, mobile phones have penetrated all value chain segments and are being adopted by all stakeholders involved in them including farmers. Apart from mobile phones, other digital technologies have emerged and are being adopted such as the use of drones in agriculture, while, long standing technologies such as remote sensed imagery and data via satellite are adopted in better ways as well. Understanding opportunities and challenges presented by new emerging digital technologies, as well as promoting their adoption, will contribute to the acceleration of productivity and profitability and employment creation in the agricultural sector and for youth. Entrepreneurship in this area is also emerging, developing the emerging market of agtech or e-agriculture business, and giving new opportunities to young entrepreneurs.
Farming and rural non-farm-based activities still have untapped potential to generate employment opportunities for Africa’s rising youth population, FAO stressed today at a high level forum – Harnessing Skills for Rural Transformation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – held at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. Africa has the youngest population and the fastest growing population in the world, predicted to double by 2050. This has a major impact on the employment market. Although ten to 12 million young people join the labor force in Africa each year, only around three million jobs are created annually. In this context, the agricultural sector as well as rural non-farm activities in tourism, agro-industries, food storage and transportation have high potential to create more and better jobs, and build stronger rural communities. “Investing in rural transformation and reaching a world free of hunger and malnutrition go hand in hand. Promoting better education, skills development and decent employment is vital for this transformation in Africa,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, who is part of a group of world leaders at the high level forum, sharing experiences and best practice in creating and expanding employment and economic opportunities for Africa’s youth.
Kenya’s urban youth harness technology to venture into gainful agribusiness
Gideon Anyona has always monitored activities in his farm using a smart phone while relaxing in his rented apartment located on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. His 15 acre farm, located in a rural Narok county 150 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, has a resident employee but mobile technology has eased the pressure of monitoring the general status of crops planted there. The 33-year old banker manages his farm from the house, thanks to technology which has for the last few years transformed Kenya’s agriculture sector. Anyona is among a growing army of farmers changing the East African nation’s agriculture sector, giving it a new and trendy face. Millions of youth are now venturing into it. Armed with a smart phone, laptop and the internet, the new crop of farmers have engineered a revolution that has not only changed the perception towards farming but is also contributing to the country’s efforts in achieving food security.
Closing the gap between the youth and agriculture in Africa
Agriculture and youth are a compatible pair, particularly in the African context: as one of the continent’s most critical industries and biggest sources of income, contributing a quarter of Africa’s total GDP and employing 70 percent of the labour force, it has the remarkable potential to empower what will be the youngest and biggest workforce in the world by 2040. Africa has an increasingly youthful population. Already half the population is under the age of 25, and 72 percent of these young people are either unemployed or vulnerable. These astonishing statistics show no signs of diminishing either, with over 330 million young Africans set to enter the job market in the next 20 years and only a third of that number forecast to be able to find wage jobs. What this indicates is a growing need for workable solutions for the youth to become productive and part of the economic mainstream. This is especially true for agriculture, which has the potential to create jobs across the continent and serve as a driver of growth. However, the industry is currently lagging in building this growth largely because of a lack of access to knowledge, skills, education and land. Financial literacy and land issues are currently the main barriers to increasing participation in the sector by young people. Access to arable land is difficult to come by for the majority of young citizens, even if they are interested in pursuing a career in the agricultural industry.
AfDB Announces New Youth Training Drive to Promote Agricultural Industrialization
African Development Bank 11/09/2017
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a new youth training drive in partnership with the Brazil-Africa Institute to train young farmers (aged 18-35 years) in commodity processing, financial literacy and management techniques. The initiative aims at providing the much-needed stimulus to drive the expansion of agriculture-based economic development with an initial focus on developing cassava farm products in West Africa. The Bank is currently offering training opportunities for 30 youth to train in Brazil for three months, said AfDB’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Chiji Ojukwu, who spoke Tuesday, September 5 at the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. The youth training aims at growing the agricultural industry networks and is part of measures being implemented by the Bank to grow Africa’s food industry and create agricultural-based entrepreneurs, he said. “I am quite optimistic these kinds of training opportunities provide avenues for the youth to participate in driving new farming techniques. We must also work together to accelerate the mindset change especially in parents who still do not view farming as a career for their children,” Ojukwu said.
Creating jobs, especially for the youth in agricultural commodity value chains, stimulating wealth creation, and ensuring food and nutritional security: These are the three priorities that the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) have identified as key pillars in a strengthened partnership between the two institutions. To implement the priorities, AAIN and ASARECA recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support and accelerate the commercialisation of technologies from scientific research. The understanding paves way for AAIN and ASARECA to develop a commercialisation strategy of technologies profiled by ASARECA and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) during the implementation of UniBRAIN, the predecessor of AAIN.
‘Youth key attraction for investing in Africa’
The Herald, August 22, 2017
One of the major attractions when investing in Africa has been the continent’s young and energetic population. According to the African Economic Outlook, a growing youth population comes with energy, creativity and talents which are also the key to its future prosperity. Research has also shown that an increasing working age population is a major opportunity for economic growth. The UN World Population Prospects Report also weighed in saying Africa will have the second largest population by 2050 making it an attractive destination for capital. The World Bank also estimates that this demographic dividend could generate 11-15 percent GDP growth between 2011 and 2030. It further says that if Africa is able to take advantage, and provide adequate education and jobs, $500 billion a year could be added to its economies for 30 years. According to research done by South Africa’s Leigh-Gail Petersen the presence of a young population means there is a working population, meaning more income which leads to better support for citizens and more improvements in the country’s development. But this is a tough time to be young in Zimbabwe. The touted potential might come to naught in the case of Zimbabwe if measures are not taken to take advantage of this young population. As it did with the commodities boom as well as the scramble for Africa, Zimbabwe risks losing out on the touted benefits of a young and energetic population. In 2006–2008 and then again in 2010–2011 commodity-exporting economies hit the mother lode when commodity prices boomed.
AFDB to establish fund to support youth in agriculture
Ghana News Agency, 14th August, 2017
Mr Edson Mpyisi, Principal Agricultural Economist on Monday said the African Development Bank (AFDB), would soon set up a fund to provide support to start-up businesses for Africa youth who are desirous to venture into agriculture. He said proposed fund dubbed “Youth Agripreneurial Fund” would provide seed capital at a low interest rate to address challenges in the sector. He said the move was crucial because most of the youth who wanted to venture into agriculture complained of lack of financial support and the unwillingness of the banks to provide credit facilities to them. Mr Mpyisi told the Ghana News Agency in an interview ahead of the African Green Revolution Forum to be organised from September 4 to 8 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on the theme: “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusion Economics and Jobs through Agriculture”. The Forum is an annual platform established in 2010 for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans to move African agriculture forward and achieve green revolution in Africa. The forum would be in partnership with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and its development partners including the Rockefeller Foundation, Grow Africa and AFDB. The forum would provide a session for youth in agribusiness and entrepreneurship, research and technology, access to financing, how to develop enterprise, and a youth fair where the youth would present their services to the participants for business to business network. He said agriculture was a growing sector with great potential in the continent, and that the sector currently has a market of 30 billion dollars and can grow to about one trillion-dollar market by 2030, hence the need for the bank to support the youth to engage in agribusiness.
Focus on challenges that discourage youth from farming –ACET report
The agenda to attract educated young people into farming “has to focus on the challenges that discourage them from farming,” according to a report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET). The report, titled “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation,” looked at how to make farming attractive to young people. These challenges are the same as those of farming generally, including access to land, inputs, finance and markets, “but the barriers are even higher for youth, who lack the necessary resources and social connections,” the report said. “But the effort to engage youth in agriculture is worthwhile, to take advantage of their generally higher education levels, more commercial orientation and strong drive, which makes them more trainable as modern farmers,” the report emphasizes. “Making farming cool” is often understood to revolve around the use of ICTs, especially mobile phone applications, to bring African agriculture into the 21st century, for example by giving farmers (and hopefully young graduate farmers) access to critical information on climate conditions, markets and pricing. How to make farming attractive to young people is fast becoming a major talking point in development circles.
Supporting the “Next Generation” in Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security in developing countries. The G20 could launch an initiative to stimulate employment and income generating opportunities for young Africans, including through skills development (Initiative for Rural Youth Employment) and vocational training. The G20 could in addition commit to an action plan on the empowerment of women and girls through digital inclusion – eSkills4Girls.
Youth employment should be at the centre of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting, hosted at FAO headquarters in Rome. In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labour market. But many see few opportunities in the agriculture sector and are constrained by a lack of skills, low wages, and limited access to land and financial services. Combined, this makes them more prone to migrate from rural areas. “Fostering sustainable agriculture and rural development is essential to absorb these millions of youth looking for a job,” Graziano da Silva said. “A sustainable world can only be achieved with the full engagement of young people. They must feel integrated and believe that a more peaceful and prosperous world is possible.” The one-day meeting was co-hosted by the African Union Commission, the European Commission and the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council and was attended by Ministers of Agriculture of the African Union and the European Union. The aim was to build a common vision on how to generate sustainable, inclusive jobs for African youth in the rural sector.
More than 1 billion young people (aged 15–24 years) live in developing countries. Africa’s youth population expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, and 10-12 million youth enter the workforce each year in Africa. However, there are scant employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men. Creating jobs for these young people requires urgent government intervention at the policy level. Policy action needed: Increase the representation of youth and youth organisation in policy-making processes; Deliver quality of education and skills-based learning that responds to the needs of the labour market; Streamline policies on data access, use and regulation to promote a conducive environment for ICT-led businesses and entrepreneurship; Provide funds to enable youth SMEs to expand and scale up; Improve youth access to finance for start-ups and business development, including through training in financial skills, engagement with the private sector, promotion of blended finance and other novel financing mechanisms Improve ICT infrastructure and policies.
Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge: New Perspectives
IDS, May 2017
Who are the youth and what is the problem? Are entrepreneurship and self-employment the solution? And what about youth aspirations? Such questions are addressed in this issue of the IDS Bulletin, drawing from the literature on how development research affects policy and noting that it says little about how young researchers move into policy engagement. Articles consider the evidence on youth employment policy and interventions, the politics of youth policy, the changing nature of young people’s work, and the promotion of entrepreneurship. They are authored by the ten members of the first cohort of the Matasa Fellows Network (a joint initiative by the MasterCard Foundation and IDS), which has a particular focus on the youth employment challenge in Africa.
Boosting youth employment in Africa: what works and why?
INCLUDE platform, 30 May 2017
This synthesis report (PDF) by the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE) reviews the latest knowledge on youth employment in Africa and the role of agriculture in combating youth unemployment. For most African youth (aged 15–24 years) the key employment issue is underemployment. They do work, but part-time and in low-skilled jobs in the informal sector. By 2020, most new jobs will be created in informal sectors like agriculture and household enterprises. A focus on enhancing productivity in these two currently low-productive sectors is, therefore, crucial in the short term. Raising productivity and, thus, creating employment in agriculture implies a need to invest in irrigation technology to ensure all-year round farming, as well as in training of farmers on the use of improved seeds and fertilizer. Also farm diversification will enhance agricultural productivity as it reduces seasonal underemployment in agriculture. Local economic conditions determine the (sub) sectors to prioritize. Possible priority sectors that could be targeted include staples, cash crops, horticultural products and livestock. Different actors have different roles to play in creating employment opportunities for youth.