Championing the cause of African youths in Agriculture

ACCRA-Africa as a continent has reported a significant rate in agriculture; Agriculture is one of the sectors on the continents with a reasonably high level of revenue from export activities. Export commodities such as Cocoa, coffee, Timber, cashew and maize are some widely known produce that earn the continent much foreign exchange revenue.

Youths
over Africa vehemently complain and protest against lack of
unemployment, considering ‘white colour jobs’ and ‘blue colour jobs’ as
the only jobs in Africa. Trend in agricultural activity inclusion has
focused on rural inhabitants with older folks dominating in many
countries across the continent, denoting that the younger folks in these
rural areas, together with people from the urban centers are not quite
interested in this sector. It is no surprise that even the unemployed
who are surrounded with agricultural opportunities refuse to see them,
even if they do, they are reluctant or do not take advantage of them.

Most
youths, when asked to campaign for agriculture or raise a voice to
agriculture will not hesitate to do it, but when asked to engage in
farming, they will definitely not hesitate to say no. Same analogy
applies to most agricultural students, if you ask them about their
ambition, they may mention International Agricultural Scientist, a
Researcher, an Agricultural Officer, a Banker or a Government Servant, a
handful will dare say they want to be farmers.

Several
documentations and reports indicate reasons for lack of interest on the
part of the youths in Africa, including the unemployed ones.

The
youth has it that, Agriculture takes much time and efforts which doesn’t
even guarantee absolute success. The Contemporary youth craves for
quick money within the shortest possible time, if possible, without much
hardwork, and since agriculture is not a one day business and also
involves a lot of hardwork and dedication, they tend to lose interest in
it.

Agriculture is perceived by most youths as socially
non-prestigious. The graduated youth would rather chase eagerly after
‘white and blue colour jobs’ than to work on a farm. Societal stereotype
and perceived inferiority complex of agriculture makes it difficult for
even parents to encourage their children, in case they decide to
venture into agriculture or farming as a career option.

There is
not enough exposure of contemporary youths, especially those at the
urban areas to agricultural activities. Since urban areas are
industrialized and developed, lands there are usually used for building
companies, households and other infrastructures rather than reserved for
large scale farming. Family lands which could otherwise be used for
farming will rather be sold out to be used for building and other
activities. Because youths are concentrated in the urban centers, they
get a little or no exposure in the field of agriculture, hence lack the
skills and motivation to go into that field.

Agricultural
activities seem uncomfortable and unsafe to the youth. People who are
dedicated to agriculture are perceived to go through a lot of things,
ranging from stress associated with work to unproductivity due to
infestations. Youths usually want to look their best and have a
comfortable work condition, and because starting to farm involves
digging, tilling lands, watering, removing weeds, burning, and maybe
encountering snakes, scorpions, and other earth creatures, they would
rather remain at home than to join the farming train.

The evolved
African educational curricula fail to include material agriculture.
Some schools teach agriculture but mostly the soft aspect of it, with a
little or no practical session. This generally affects the interest
buildup of youths towards the agriculture.

We as African youths
have however been continuously sensitized in the past few years about
the need to venture into agriculture as a career choice. Several
campaigns have been launched by some youth advocates in various
countries within Africa to create a sense of inclusion for youths and to
change the dominant stereotype and preconceptions towards agriculture
as a career choice.

The Africa Internship Academy under the umbrella of People Initiative Foundation stand to defend this course, we encourage all youths who want to venture into the field not to allow for discouragement. There is now a tremendous improvement in the agricultural sector. According to Debbie Stabenow, agriculture looks different today – farmers are using GPS and can monitor their irrigation systems over the Internet. With the introduction of modern technology and internet, agriculture has been made much easier and quite enjoyable. This is a great motivation to all youths who want to explore the scope

Some governments have also
developed initiatives that will help build the agricultural sector and
make it more effective than before. With the provision of free seedlings
and fertilizers, free farm productivity strategies and other amazing
initiatives, more youths are beginning to build interest in the field
and are doing exceedingly great.

Some educational sectors,
especially the higher ones have been able to inculcate practical
agriculture as an effective course of study. The concept is very
practical and involves almost all the aspects such as farming and
fishing, so aside the theoretical aspects, students are able to identify
with the field and build more interest in it. They are also able to
gain skills and adopt strategies to make agriculture easier.

According
to Gilbert K. Chesterton, true contentment is a thing as active as
agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that
there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare. Most youths are observed
not to live life for themselves but rather live life driven by societal
control and interference. The youths need to take responsibility for
their lives and choices, follow their dreams and take control of their
decisions without fear or intimidation. This is basically the first step
to achieve success.

APO