Advocating for the active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain

19 - 23 September 2011
Ezulwini, Swaziland

Africa must get youth involved in agriculture

7 October 2011
Lindi van Rooyen
Farmers Weekly
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Speaking at this year's Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN's) food security policy dialogue in Swaziland, that country's acting prime minister, Macford Sibandze, said that the success of agriculture depends on continuity and the transfer of knowledge to the youth. "The youth are conspicuously absent from the agricultural sector. They have moved towards western values and equate a career in agriculture with hard work and no reward."

Sibandze explained that lack of support to improve productivity and bring innovation into the agricultural sector has, in many ways, pushed young people away from this sector and into more attractive sectors such as information and communication technology. "Negative perceptions about agriculture must change so that we can win the war against poverty and hunger," he said.

Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN, said Africa has the highest population of people under 25. "Who will feed the nation in the next 30 years if today's youth don't get involved in the agricultural sector?" she asked.

Sitembile Ndema, programme manager: Women Accessing Realigned Markets, added that the youth are innovative and pick up on new technologies faster than older generations. "We need them to be involved in agriculture to implement these new technologies and help grow the sector. They must also get involved in agriculture at an earlier age so that they can take the industry forward," said Ndema.

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