Picture this: A young ex-combatant who put down his weapons a few months ago, raises his hand to say he has decided to improve his life by going into agriculture, and his colleagues think the same.
Agriculture and Rural Development
In East Africa and West Africa, about 300 million people living in dryland areas rely on natural, resource-based activities for their livelihood. By 2030, this number could increase to 540 million. At the same time, climate change could result in an expansion of Africa’s drylands by as much as 20%.
During my recent trip to Malawi, I saw that the expansion of agriculture, of illegal logging, and of charcoal production are decimating the country’s once-forested hillsides, causing soil to wash into rivers, wetlands, and lakes. This loss of topsoil is reducing crop yields, putting stress on agriculture-dependent communities, and leading to increasingly intense land use.
Let me answer it this way: If you are a youth, you are damned if you farm, and you will be equally damned if you don’t. Farming as an option is very key to enabling the continuous production of food to meet our consumption demand. We are in an era where we have to attract the young people to join food production, since majority of them think it is dirty work. Interacting with young farmers has only left me understanding that, besides the lack of mechanisation, we lack the best farming practices that would otherwise increase our earnings.
Getting more youth to engage productively in agriculture is not, and won’t be, an easy job. As an aspiring goat farmer and student in agribusiness management, I know that it takes real passion and commitment to make a living from agriculture. I am currently rearing 40 free range goats on a small farm in my village. On average, I spend about Uganda Sh30,000 to rear each goat—which I normally sell off during the Christmas season at Shs 200,000. This year, I intend to use the money to expand the business, and invest in high value crops to take advantage of the free manure from the goats.
Most youths’ perception of agriculture and agribusiness reflects the image of a dirty, exhausted poor farmer carrying a rusty hoe on puffy, tired shoulders somewhere on the outskirts of modernity.
My name is Peter Safari Kagereki and I am a rabbit farmer in Embu, Kenya. I studied to obtain a Bachelors of Commerce and Marketing. I am not keen to become employed, but rather wish to be a job creator.
Farming is just not enough! Never has there been a major shift in the view and subsequent engagement in farming by the younger generation in Kenya and Africa as a whole than in the last five to seven years.
It would be untruthful of me to say that I have ever considered myself the “farming type”, so to speak. Oddly enough, everything surrounding my upbringing and very name suggested otherwise.
Senegal’s nutrition policy is at a crossroads. Reaching a critical moment where the effects of malnutrition could have a detrimental effect on generations of young Senegalese to come, the Government of Senegal is striving to make efforts to address the root problems of malnutrition. However, if these actions are taken without a conscious effort bolster the key role of women in nutrition, the country may not succeed in stymieing stunting and malnutrition in the country.