Agriculture plays a massive part in Africa's economy and food security. However, African youth are discouraged from pursuing agriculture for fear it may not be a lucrative career. In the near future, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to a third of the world's young people. Amidst high rates of youth unemployment, more and more of the next generation are moving away for career opportunities in place of working in the agricultural sector. This has resulted in a continent-wide youth-focused initiative to get Africa's youth more involved in the farm supply chain.
However, the African youth has plenty of valuable traits for the field of agribusiness. Young Africans can leverage their self-awareness in business to manage their emotions and behaviors, collect trusted feedback, and consider all the circumstances regarding their work. Younger people also tend to be more curious, so their tendency to question everything, understand systems, and improve processes can be the key to improving the agricultural business sector in Africa.
These traits are allowing the African youth to innovate the African agricultural sector, including opportunities to launch agripreneurial projects within the agri-business sector in partnership with universities. In a time when the youth are generally discouraged from opportunities in agriculture, these initiatives are crucial to important African agriculture success stories. Today, we'll look at a few of these success stories:
Improving food and nutrition security
Involving stakeholders in agricultural processes can help make processes more efficient. The NIBIO-coordinated EU-Africa H2020 InnovAfrica project has done precisely this to improve food and nutrition security in six Sub-Saharan African countries. This has also led to higher yields, such as increased milk production, increased milk consumption, an overall better nutritional status, and increased income for farmers.
Initiatives like this help empower smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa, increasing their productivity, profitability, and nutritional benefits while sticking to sustainable efforts to reduce further environmental impact. They are also committed to connecting farmers with relevant technologies that can help make farming more efficient, focusing on farmer-led field demonstrations of various technologies to help them take up more diverse cropping systems and, subsequently, yields.
Upskilling women in agri-business
Upskilling women in agri-business
Aside from significant improvements in agricultural yields and factors, the youth's involvement in agri-business initiatives also points towards increased gender inclusivity in the farming sector. One such example is a community of women established to encourage the pursuit of various, diverse business opportunities, as well as kickstarting their farming businesses.
These initiatives focus on talent development and upskilling between agriculture and business, featuring training programs that help smallholder farmers meet local food production standards and connect with more diverse commercial markets. This is especially important as women remain a minority in African land ownership, despite making up almost 50% of the global agricultural workforce.
Ultimately, bridging agriculture and business can help provide space for Africa's youth to pursue innovations within the continent's agricultural sector. On top of modernized initiatives such as adopting new technologies and entrepreneurial opportunities, unlocking the potential of agriculture for the next generation also means a closer look at talent development and investment, creating more space for women and minorities in the sector.
Exclusively written for THEAGRIPRENEUR.org by Rhoslyn Josie