Agriculture South Africa
Over the past six months of the campaign, I have seen with my own eyes how enthusiastic and driven young people in the continent are about agriculture and food security. I have witnessed the incredible energy of the Youth Programme For Agriculture and Entrepreneurship development (YPAED) in Nigeria, the technical astuteness of the Tanzanian Graduate Farmers Association (TGFA) and the activism of South Africa’s young farmers at the Youth Agric Summit in Johannesburg.
I am also humbled by the energy and support that young people from all walks of life across the continent gave to the Do Agric campaign. So many of the 2.2 million voices presented to the Africa heads of state at the recent Malabo summit, demanding increased investments in agriculture, were from young people.
As we celebrate International Youth Month, we need to ask ourselves if enough is being done to bring the energy, innovation and the entrepreneurial flair of young people into agribusiness.
It is expected that the value of food markets which form only one component of the sector, is set to increase from US $313 billion in 2010 to US $1 trillion in 2030. It seem to be a no-brainer that young people in the continent should be capitalising on this sector for their economic development. This is especially expected in Africa because of the widespread entrepreneurial spirit of the continent’s people.
What saddens me though, is that in spite of all this apparent opportunity, enthusiasm and rhetoric, young people are more still likely to face difficulties in accessing resources such as capital, financing, land and technology that will allow them to become more commercially active in agriculture.
This is mainly due to their inability to secure the required collateral to secure credit and their limited experience with financial services. Young people are also more likely to have difficulties in securing markets for their produce, a problem which cripples many young entrepreneurs in the sector.