June 6, 2019

Do millennials hold the key to Africa's farming future?

Millions of young people are urged to consider agriculture careers and spur new era of growth across the continent.

Africa has vast areas of as-yet untapped land that, if cultivated, could dramatically alter countries' economic prospects and fulfil the continent's promise as the breadbasket of the world. But it needs millions of young Africans to choose agriculture as a career. Now Nigerian singer-songwriter Mr Eazi and award-winning choreographer and Sherrie Silver are spearheading the 'Our Future Is Here' campaign under the hashtag #DanceForChange on TikTok to show millennials that 'agripreneurship' can be lucrative as well as socially responsible.

About 60 percent of Africa's population is under the age of 25 and youth unemployment is stubbornly high. Growing numbers of young people are tentatively looking beyond the traditional allure of urban white-collar jobs in favour of careers in agribusiness, but governments remain concerned that farming is a job still largely practiced by older generations. While grants and educational programmes have been issued to would-be farmers the job still carries stigma, largely because most farmers work small plots on a subsistence basis.

Even with traditional government support, those in the farming sector routinely face increasingly severe weather events stemming from¬†climate change, such as droughts, flooding and storms. A lack of adequate infrastructure and tools to enhance productivity have¬†only compounded the challenge of moving Africa away from being a net importer of essential food. Now, young farmers are using technologies such as¬†blockchain and mobile apps¬†to secure funding, boost productivity and scale up their plots into burgeoning commercial enterprises ‚Äď techniques that governments hope will appeal to those considering agriculture as a stable and rewarding career path.

The Stream will look at how young entrepreneurs are faring as they take their first steps in farming and consider how their work can help secure a prosperous and bountiful future for their countries. Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Sherrie Silver @SherrieSilver
Creative director & dancer and United Nations IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth

Amanda Namayi @That_A_Lady
Advocate for youth In agriculture initiatives

Keremba Warioba 
Coffee farmer

Read more:
What young Zambians have to say about making farming more attractive - The Conversation
Ugandan firm uses blockchain to trace coffee from farms to stores - Reuters

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