Across Africa agriculture is rarely seen as a meaningful career for the youth. Considering the hard work, the challenges and the capital that it requires, many youths would rather migrate to the cities than stay in the rural areas to pursue a career in Agriculture.
Yet, there are many success stories coming from Africa; of successful youth agripreneurs, who, despite the hurdles have used their skills, creativity, and innovation and leveraged on technology to build strong, thriving agribusinesses.
In Nigeria for example, enterprising youth have started a successful farming business or are renting out equipment for other farmers to use, thus improving food security and making farming less labour intensive and thus attractive to youth.
In Kenya, an entrepreneur has set up an online platform helping young farmers to share their journey with other farmers; thus helping exchange their challenges, experience, and information; and igniting the interest of young Kenyans towards a career in agriculture.
Success stories of young people making a career out of agriculture while creating jobs in agriculture and boosting the income of farmers and the community as a whole are changing the negative stereotypes associated with agriculture and positively reinforcing the message that young people can succeed and make a living out of agriculture and have a meaningful career.
To build a thriving agribusiness, African youth need to tap into new technologies and digital tools. Thus, there is a market for innovation centres, vocational training centres and other institutions that are set up to train, support and meet the needs of African agripreneurs. The good news is that such initiatives are beginning to roll out.
Secondly, incubation centres that incubate agriculture-focused youth ideas help African youth to sharpen their ideas and further develop their management and entrepreneurial skills must be launched, and the existing ones need to continue to be funded.
Thirdly, it is important to provide platforms where rising African youthful agripreneurs can meet successful youth entrepreneurs who, despite the hurdles, have made a career in agriculture.
Making agriculture attractive and an easy sell to youth should continue to be among the top priorities for African countries and stakeholders in the agriculture value chain. The time to encourage many more young people to pursue agriculture as a career is now.
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