Can Agritech Bring Africa's Young People Back to Farming?

As communities in Africa start to rebound from the initial impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic and look ahead, the importance of creating millions of jobs for the continent's booming youth population cannot be overstated. This will require concerted efforts across myriad sectors. One sector that is brimming with vast and untapped resources, is agriculture.  

The future of food on the continent is in the hands of African farmers, particularly our young farmers, of whom we are in desperately short supply. About 60% of Africans are under 25 years old, but the average age of Africa's smallholder farmers is over 60 years.

Too many young people view farming as exhausting work with antiquated tools for very low pay. A report released by Heifer International in August 2021 explained why young people are turning away from agriculture. The report emphasised that this is a major opportunity to evolve the sector and bring them back, writes Adesuwa Ifedi for African Arguments.

The report also found that with the appropriate financing, training, and access to technologies, many more African youth would seriously consider pursuing a career in agriculture. The survey, which included focus groups with farmers and tech companies, revealed evidence of rapidly growing agritech start-ups operated by creative young people across the continent. By encouraging and supporting this new generation of innovators, the report says that access to labour-saving and transformative technologies for huge numbers of smallholder farmers, can be boosted.

InFocus

A drone being used to spray crops (file photo).

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