Youth make up about 50% of Africa’s population with unemployment levels of roughly 28%. The number of young people of working age is increasing while this same group continues to shy away from careers in agriculture. Why? Image! Agriculture has an image problem which contributes to the little interest youth might have in agriculture. And for those who might express interest in the sector-there is no adequate support from both public and private sectors.
Technology might be the link to getting more young Africans interested in exploring careers in agriculture. We already know that technology is revolutionising agriculture. For example, data collection, monitoring and evaluation has been made easier using mobile apps and financial access has been made easier by mobile payment solutions across Africa. These are clear cases that we need to invest in information technology and provide the training that will advance the practices that power this Agricultural production. More youth need to harness the potential opportunities in agricultural activities to empower themselves especially in the use of Technology in giving extension services and inputs to farmers thereby posing an alternative to older hands in the public and private sector of agriculture.
The opportunities that exist today in agriculture need to be redirected to the youth.There is a great potential for agriculture to be optimised to provide the kinds of outputs that will the population Africa- but first we must make agriculture look “cool” and a demandable career for the youth
Bolaji Akinboro is the Co-Founder of Cellulant Corporation; CEO of Cellulant Nigeria, Chief of Party eWallet and foremost thought leader on Financial Inclusion in Africa