Re: Youth and Agriculture in West Africa

National Alliance Against Hunger,(NAAH) Nigeria, Nigeria

Dear all,

I must commend FSN for bringing this up after the FSN Forum in West Africa workshop  in Accra, Ghana November, 2013 which I attended. I must also wish to see that the new renewed zeal exhibited at the meeting approaches this very topic with the attention it deserves. For this I hereby submit that:
There is no doubt that Africa has the youngest population in the world; over 200 million people are between ages 15 and 24 and the African Economic Outlooks expects this number to double by 2045. It is easy to see why youth have become such an important part of Africa Agriculture.
However Young people are also caught today or attracted to the instantaneous nature of communications and fast changing technologies—keeping pace with these exciting innovations is our addiction. So the question in the minds of every researcher and expert is why don’t we figure out the best practical way possible to link young people with this the changes in the agriculture
The opportunity to discuss and define this here makes the concept much more interesting since an estimated 70% of the world's poor rely on agriculture for all or some of their household income. Farmers face a number of risks to their livelihoods, including unpredictable weather and crop price variation and young people are part of this. These risks may also affect young people
1. My suggestion is that Government in West Africa can strengthen higher education in Agriculture to attract youth into the sector to increase food productivity. Technological innovation in the sector can provide cost effective options as well as extending information and education to those who are not attending school. These can be done through effective rural cooperative settings and management.  Technology can also be a driver for change in agriculture—offering young people a range of opportunities: socialization and network-building, employment and research, among others.
2. Youths want access to power, telephones, digital television and other information and communication technologies that are sadly missing or not really functional in many rural communities especially in Africa. Besides, youths do not want to practice agriculture the way of their fathers but in a modern way, with an appropriate image that speak to their aspiration as natives of the digital age – where the media have a great influence on perceptions and aspirations. Much can be achieved in that direction
3. Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Empowerment initiative can offer incentives as attractive to put young people in Agriculture

Enoch, Nyayiti Raymond
NAAHM Nigeria