By Kalu Samuel
“Despite the incentives and the expanding markets for primary and secondary agricultural commodities, the involvement of the youth in agricultural activities has steadily declined in recent years (Adekunle et al. 2009)”
It is in this vein that several stakeholders in the Agricultural sector: Agriculture ministers, High-level officials of 20 African countries/governments, Representatives of regional institutions such as the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and sub-regional research organizations (ASARECA,CORAF, and CCARDESSA), Collaborating partners from CGIAR and other international research institutions such as AfricaRice, ICARDA, IFPRI, ICIPE, and ILRI, Representatives of private enterprises, Nongovernmental organizations, Youth agricultural entrepreneurs will all be present at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)’s initiative on youth in agribusiness, entitled: Engagement of Youth Entrepreneurship for Agricultural Transformation in Africa at IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria from 28 – 30 May 2014.
This will lead to the development of an African wide program on “Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative”:a Private-Public partnership to Advance Youth employment in Agriculture and Agribusiness in Africa, which has the main Objective to:
1. Brainstorm and encourage innovative thinking on how to directly engage the youth in more diverse and productive roles in agriculture
2. Identify strategies for the empowerment of rural youth in agriculture based on tailored pathways that offer opportunities in agribusiness,local service provision, and market-oriented agriculture
3. Develop the Pan-African Youth in Agribusiness program
Key strategic interventions to realize the workshop’s recommendations include:
1. Establishing the Africa Youth Agribusiness Development Initiative (YADI) that advances training in vocational agriculture to demonstrate and promote opportunities for youth.
2. Back stopping (through intensive and modular training programs) rural enterprise development with quality science and action research to develop products and technologies that attract the youth.
3. Building a network of well-educated and motivated young entrepreneurs around rural agribusiness service clusters (hubs)that attract private sector investors for long-term sustainable development.
4. Mobilizing the energies of skilled youth as service providers to the larger farming community.
Since the event is targeted at the Youth, it is expected that:
• Engaging youth in entrepreneurship for agricultural transformation in Africa can succeed by bringing resources to bear on a consistent strategy for the long haul supported by regional policy advocacy and policy leadership spearheaded by IFAD and AfDB agriculture and education sectors.
• The program will aim to increase the income of 1.0 million youth by at least an additional US$450 every year as a result of training in agribusiness that allows a doubling of production,processing, and marketing of major stable crops that include cassava, banana, soybean and horticulture, and livestock(poultry and fish) over a period of five years in selected impact-zones across the continent.
We will indeed like to hear from you during the conference period (28th – 30th May, 2014) and beyond. Tweet your questions, suggestions and comments on Youth involvement in Agriculture and Agribusiness (YADI) using the Official hashtag: #YADI14
You can also share your view on the workshop discussion forum by registering here – http://yadi2014.discussioncommunity.com/