Next November, on 22nd and 23rd, the 6th Brazil Africa Forum will cover the issue “Youth Empowerment: transformation to achieve sustainable development”. Discussions will be carried out on innovation, technology, health, education, agriculture and other key points on the youth global agenda nowadays.
Regarding agriculture, we from the CSAYN have a lot to think about.
Agriculture (crop production and animal breeding) is a key to solving the problems of youth unemployment and underemployment in Africa (Brooks et al. 2012; FAO et al. 2014). Thus, the agricultural sector is a sector of both change and opportunity as large numbers of young people entering the sector can accelerate the pace of change and in the process young people can shift from job seekers to job creators (Filmer and Fox 2014).
Nevertheless, there exist barriers which African youth face in studying agriculture. These challenges impact negatively on youth professional education and training. Most youths face financial constraints, and particularly an inability to pay tuition for advanced courses hence they terminate studies at certificate or diploma levels. In Zimbabwe for example, one spends 4 years to study for a degree in agriculture at a cost of USD 1,200 per year. A student studying agriculture at a college gets awarded a certificate after spending only 2 years at a cost of USD 300 per year.
Most of the equipment used in teaching agriculture are old and requires lots of menial labour or fuel to operate. Such machinery includes tractors, land survey equipment and planters. This is a problem because modern industries promote the use of modern equipment which are less labour intensive and environmentally friendly. Thus, a graduate from agriculture college may find life difficult in the industry, hence will need extra training. In addition, Agriculture is both theoretical and practical, in most of our universities, there are not enough platforms to have practical trainings, this does not give the youth the opportunity to have a balanced view and training in agriculture.
There’s a whole lot of changes going on in the reality of Agricultural practice in recent years. The impact of climate change and variability for example, unfortunately the curriculum used in teaching Agriculture in most universities have not changed from what they used to be a long time ago, they are somewhat obsolete and hence not suitable for current realities. It is also important to state that some very important aspect of Agriculture marketing is excluded or not taught in details, this eventually leads to student not having a proper understanding of Agribusiness and might be of a challenge if going into agri-entrepreneurship.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been of increasing growth and importance in recent years and are also very important in the Agriculture sector, unfortunately in universities, there’s little or low inclusion of ICT for Agriculture trainings for students which can be an interesting aspect for youth if taken seriously.
These are only some of the challenges. To overcome them we need commitment and actions, that´s why we count on all of you.
*CSAYN is a media partner of the 6th Brazil Africa Forum, to be held on November 22 and 23 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: https://forumbrazilafrica.com/
Brooks, K., Zorya, S., & Gautam, A. (2012). Employment in agriculture: Jobs for Africa’s youth. In 2012 global food policy report. Washington DC: IFPRI.
FAO, CTA, & IFAD (2014). Youth and agriculture: key challenges and concrete solutions. Rome: FAO in collaboration with CTA and IFAD.
Filmer, D., & Fox, L. (2014). Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa (Africa development series). Washington, DC: World Bank.
James Sumberg, Thomas Yeboah, Justin Flynn and Nana Akua Anyidoho (2017) Young people’s perspectives on farming in Ghana: a Q study. Food Security, 9 (1) 151–161.
This write up was prepared by CSAYN Team – Tolulope Ayeyemi, Ntiokam Divine, Never Mujer, Olumide Idowu