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Countries in Southern Africa seek innovative ways to involve youth in agriculture

© FAO / Edward Ogolla

Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 24. The potential of this demographic to transform agriculture was a key theme in a meeting held earlier this month in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The meeting, which was held from 3–6 October 2017, brought together FAO Representatives and Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of Agriculture of the sixteen countries served by the FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa, along with other senior government officials and experts from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Participants agreed that youth could play a more pronounced role in the sector, thereby accelerating employment creation, improving productivity and enhancing economic growth. In particular, the commercialisation of agriculture was cited as crucial for attracting young men and women to the sector.

Participants also observed that young people often shun agriculture because of “the drudgery” it entails, and that the mechanisation of the agriculture sector should focus on both youth and women, and ensure that it gains luster.

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