- What are the biggest challenges youth in Africa face after going through youth-specific capacity development initiatives in agriculture?
Following the world’s population projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 with African having more than a half of this global change according to UN new Desa report Aug.18, 2015. On this population at list most African countries have about 75% youth where Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa take a lead. This has its own circumstances caused by most African governments which is beyond their reach until they try to realize should be part of the economic movement in the areas they are born. However putting that aside, agriculture being one of the sector for exploitation to liberating youth from unemployment among other risk encountered, has its own challenges youth face in Africa besides going through youth specific capacity development initiatives.
It’s clear that youth who should have been stakeholders in the development of process especially in view of the great assets of youth, their resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance is just unfortunate Africa’s youth are virtually left out in these policies and programmes considerations in agriculture sector by their country leaders.
The second principal challenge is youth’s insufficient access to knowledge, information and education. Poor and inadequate education has limited productivity and acquisition of skills, which also has hindered the development of entrepreneurial ventures. In Africa it’s where you find programs starting one to five month igniting youth in into agriculture and stopping abruptly on ideas of mindset change and many are discourage to continue with production.
Inadequate or totally no access to financial services is also another challenges. Most financial service providers are reluctant to provide their services including credit, savings and insurance to rural youth due to their lack of collateral and financial literacy, among other reasons calling the sector (Agriculture) as risk venture.
Difficulties accessing green jobs to strengthen youth involvement in agriculture. This would provide an open ticket to youth who are learnt to provide extension services and plan for future development. In Uganda have had serious changes in sector where soldiers are integrated in some government programs taking over areas which would be for youth engagement and sustainability where with this has left a very big gap and discouraging youth labour intensive involvement.
There’s also challenge of limited access to markets which bring the youth not able to engage in viable and sustainable agricultural ventures. This is even becoming more difficult due to growing international influence of supermarkets and rigorous standards of their supply chains and are not easy met. Youth sometimes affected or limited freedom movement by cultural norms.
In addition to above youth in Africa who are now known as timed boom to erupt anytime should nothing be done urgently against their needs have other challenges like limited involvement in policy dialogue for their voices to be heard, lack of land for cultivation and empowerment, political instabilities and their effects like South Sudan, natural hazards like drought and heavy rains destroying all green plantations among others.
In developing countries particular Uganda and Africa at large, facilitating youth cohort’s participation in agriculture will drive widespread rural poverty reduction for younger and surrounding communities alike with reduction of migration beyond borders.
2. What are the examples of existing post-capacity development sustainability initiatives for youth in agriculture in Africa? What works and what doesn’t? Are there any success stories and good practices that can be shared?
What workers is that youth who have been initiated in programs for example youth in agriculture should have direct strategic work plan for five years and above making sure those engaged are empowered in all phases of agriculture value chain production, promoting financial products catered to youth, mentoring programmes and start-up funding opportunities can all help remedy Africa’s youth challenges. There’s also need to improving youth access to education and training including formal and informal on job training to redress skills mismatch. On the side of market youth need niche markets offering particularly significant opportunities for young farmers. Lastly African policymakers must actively engage youth in the policy making process for their voices to be heard and this can bring accountability for heterogeneity of youth at all levels. There should be addition program of mindset change where youth should realize Africa is their land to change and be the owners of what should expect with care for next generations.
3. What post-capacity development support do the youth need? What can the youth do to support each other in developing their skills and capacities?
The youth need to engage in policies formulation on access to land, credit (finances) and investment within any government sent agricultural projects, encouraging use of modern technologies(ICT) to disseminate information and passion involvement, Farming from the word go should be presented more effectively as a business opportunity, promoting leadership in agriculture and lastly encouraging greater investment of time and resource in young professionals across sector value chain and toward climate-smart agriculture sustaining the environment for future generations.
4. What enabling environment is needed to ensure sustainability of youth in agriculture capacity development initiatives?
It’s through facilitation and encouraging policy engagement and formulation for youth support. This can be taken around all levels to where activities are implemented. There’s need of capacity building and exposure of youth in agriculture to embrace the cause and take on the opportunities in sector.
Lastly theirs need to incorporate stakeholdership taking youth as center and others on value china like credit and financing institutions, insurance, local government, markets among others not forgetting research institutions providing all basic and right information to youth activity involvement.
5. Is there a role for modern technologies, including Information and Communication Technologies, in sustaining capacity and development initiatives?
Modern technologies should be part since young people have a high propensity to embraces innovative technologies as revolution for the next generations in agriculture sector. New technologies are shaping the value chain and jobs are created. The world is moving very fast, most thing are shifting from one level to another. Therefore, ICT in agriculture has an impact for sharing information on mobile phones for example markets, skills, knowledge on type of product among others. There’s also lobbying and presentation for opportunities. Other services like credit, insurance, media news (Social media platform) and connections are all found on internet and can reduce time and cost to most agriculture development business projects infrastructure systems.