The report on the online discussion: Youth employment in agriculture as a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa

e-forum report

The report on the online discussion: Youth employment in agriculture as a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa

The online e-consultation on Youth employment in agriculture as a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa was held on the 16th of July to the 10th of August 2018 on the FAO FSN Forum.

The e-consultation took four weeks and saw participants from 33 countries who shared 90 contributions. This e-consultation was organized to gather views of youths (especially those who could not attend) the 20-21 August regional conference whose theme was “Youth Employment in Agriculture as a Solid Solution to Ending Hunger and Poverty in Africa: Engaging through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Entrepreneurship” which was held in Kigal, Rwanda

Watch part of the conference below

Themes of the e-consultation

The e-consultation had three feeder themes contributing to main conference, these were:-

  • Experience as a Youth in the Agriculture Sector
  • Major Achievements and Success stories
  • What the Rwanda youth conference should address

During the consultation, the participants concurred that the agricultural sector in Africa needs young people but it continues to suffer from an image problem, in other words agriculture is not attractive to the African youths. There is need for success stories, successful role models that can attract young people back to the farms.

Most african youths are exposed to agriculture from childhood, however many see it as laborious and manual and even the adults urge them to stay off the farm. The current average african farmer is aged, (most between 45-70). Concerns raised include the (i) lack of appropriate rural services and facilities, (ii) lack of information about opportunities in agriculture, (iii) need for solutions that take into account youths different situations.

The participants also highlighted a number of opportunities such as the potential for agriculture to end rural poverty among youths; young farmers can bring more drive to the aged farming population; and the potential in using ICTs for agriculture.

Three youthful enterprises

The following is an excerpt of the three enterprises shared during the e-consultation:-

  • In Ghana, Michael Sakyi founded SM Golden Bee, an agribusiness company engaged in beekeeping and production of soap, creams made with honey, wax and propolis. He also offers practical training for other youth especially in rural areas. He hopes his work will help to protect the ecosystem by preserving bees for increased plant pollination. (Kafui Agbe, Ghana)
  • In Malawi, social entrepreneur Clara Kamlomo uses her horticultural skills to train rural farmers in mushroom seed-making and cultivation. Kamlomo has harnessed the technology of social media applications like the WhatsApp platform to reach out to and educate those who cannot participate in on-site training. (Christy Songola, Malawi)
  • In Burkina Faso, Nawsheen Hosenally co-founded Agribusiness TV and since its launch has produced over 100 videos in 12 African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal and Togo highlighting success stories youth entrepreneurs in agriculture. The videos, accessed on Agribusiness TV website and YouTube channel, have been viewed over 7 million times. The Agribusiness TV network of young entrepreneurs and youth in agriculture has over 174 000 fans on Facebook, 13 000 subscribers on YouTube. (Nawsheen Hosenally, Burkina Faso)

Can ICTs help?

During the discussion a number of ICTs examples were shared, these were

  • GreenApp is a mobile app and web-based system which helps African youths to engage in farming. It provides specific weather forecasts (including temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction), gives information on prices, and offers audio/video advisories on innovative practices and success stories. The app will also allow individuals and registered companies to own online shops and give customers the option of buying and selling by using Visa, MasterCard or MPESA mobile-transfer technology. (Placidius Rwechungura, Tanzania)
  • The youthful team at Trotro Tractor Ltd uses the Internet and technology to change the lives of smallholder farmers through the provision of platforms which makes agricultural mechanization services available, accessible and affordable to enhance productivity, improve efficiency and reduce post-harvest loss (Kafui Agbe, Ghana)
  •  Cynthia Aveh founded Trustfarm and Greencredit respectively. Trustfarm is founded on technology to provide a sustainable market for food crops and livestock for smallholder and large farmers. Greencredit leverages blockchain technology and initial coin offerings to raise funds to plant more trees and save the ecosystem through beekeeping. (Kafui Agbe, Ghana)
  • INCLUDE, a knowledge platform on inclusive development policies, brings together African, Dutch and other stakeholders to translate academic findings into inclusive policy practice. For one of the conferences on productive employment, a theme central to INCLUDE’s work, a synthesis report was drafted which reviews the stateof-the-art knowledge on youth employment in Africa. (Frank van Kesteren, the Netherlands)

For more information read report here

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