Re: Youth and Agriculture in West Africa

Mohamed Ajuba Sheriff Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone
23.12.2013

If agriculture is made productive, profitable and more attractive to youths, total output will increase remarkably. To this end, a number of measures should be taken:

1. Recruitment and training of more youth agriculture extension workers.

2. Development of youth groups and provision of support services.

3. Improving access to agricultural land, appropriate technology, inputs and soft loan.

4. Acquisition of special skills through training and provision of appropriate equipment and mechanization services to reduce drudgery and enhance productivity.

5. Encouragement to take active part in agro-processing, storage, and marketing.

In Sierra Leone our population is predominantly comprised of youths whose role in development is multi-sectoral. For this reason the government national document (agenda for prosperity) has created a National Youth Commission to develop and harness such vital human resource.

In the agriculture sector, the ministry of agriculture forestry and food security flagship program Smallholder Commercialization Program, there is an opportunity of good self-employment. Already, some youth groups are actively engaged in various aspects of agriculture looking out for quick economic returns. However, we need to make agriculture more attractive and productive for young people through massive sensitization, and training using the farmer field school approach and facilitate access to credit (financial services association/community banks) for several other youths to emulate their colleagues to participate fully in all aspect of agriculture within the value chain concept ( production, processing, and marketing - agro business)

Mohamed Ajuba Sheriff

Sierra Leone