Agriculture specialists have advised African leaders, especially Malawi’s, to develop agriculture policies and initiatives that will assist young people in adopting new technology and gaining access to productive resources such as loans, land, and markets.
On the sidelines of the three-day 2021 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Farmers Union managing director Paul Zachariah said that while many young people are interested in agriculture, some agricultural policies are not appealing to them, suffocating their interests.
Zachariah said there is a need to develop evidence-based strategies for assisting rural youth to access land and finance saying these two are the most salient barriers inhibiting youth participation in agriculture.
National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) Head of policy and communications Beatrice Makwenda said agriculture transformation cannot be possible without the participation of the youth as such there is a need for government to create a conducive environment for them.
Makwenda said engagement of youth in agricultural policy formulation is also one of the avenues for motivating youth engagement in agriculture.
“The youth now are driving the agriculture agenda, so everyone now needs to embrace the youth; there is a need to create an environment where young people can explore various opportunities in the sector. If we are to achieve transformation, then that will not be possible without engaging the youth,” she said
She, therefore, saluted farmers in Malawi for embracing crop diversification as one way of beating the effects of climate change that the country has always been experiencing.
“When crop diversification is fully embraced can, as a result, contribute significantly to livelihood, improved health and nutrition, household food security and climate resilience among other things,” she said.
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Associate program officer Macloud Kayira said for inclusive agriculture transformation to take shape in the country, farmers voices also need to be heard in terms of decision making in the sector.
“We cannot talk about agriculture transformation without farmers and I am so excited that the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum was organized to allow farmers to voice out their aspiration for agriculture transformation,” He said
AGRF is one of the world’s premier forums for African agriculture that brings together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.
It is championed by a Partners Group that is made up of a coalition of leading actors in African agriculture all focused on putting farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economies.
The AGRF Secretariat is hosted by AGRA on behalf of the partners, itself a Pan African institution working across the continent.
This year’s forum has attracted over ten thousand participants across Africa many of whom are attending virtually.