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The youth are an integral part of society that can drive agriculture transformation

Posted by JUDITH DORA AKOLO on 20 November 2022 2:55 PM CAT
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The youth are an integral part of society that can drive agriculture transformation

by Judith Akolo

African Union member states are being advised to take advantage of the youth bulge and utilize them in agriculture transformation.

A Food and Nutrition systems expert Dr. Laila Lokosang says that the youth constitute the largest population on the African continent hence they posses the human capital that can aid in agriculture transformation. "Today 1.2 billion of the world population is between the ages of 15 and 24 years," he says and adds, "Africa has the youngest population with nearly 88% of them living in developing nations, particularly rural sub-saharan Africa and South-Central and South East Asia."

Speaking on the topic “Role of youth as human capital agents towards transformative and resilient agro-food systems in Africa”, Dr. Lokosang who spoke at the 13th Africa Day of Food and Nutrition Security (ADNS) said that empowering the youth through investing more in technology, digitalization, innovation, and data availability will aid in the youth in aiding agriculture transformation.

In his paper, Pathways for Leveraging the Potential of the youth in the Agro-Food Systems Transformation Agenda, at the ADNS Dr. Lokosang arugues that if the youth are allowed to play an active role in the food systems transformation agenda, this will enable the youth to leverage on and access opportunities such as green jobs across the food value chains.

The Senior Technical Advisor to the Commisioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environement at the African Union Commision, says that while the Malabo Declaration in 2014 set a target of creating job opportunities for at least 30% of the youth in agriculture value chain, member states are still lagging behind. 

He is urging for policy interventions that ensure that their is adequate investment in digital technologies in the agriculture sector, as well as mechanisation to make agriculture attractice hence be able to attract the youth into the sector, "the youth are tech survy and their role in the sector using the digital space is of utmost importance," says Dr. Lokosang.

Among the interventions being suggested by Dr. Lokosang to be able to attract youth into the agriculture sector include; establishing mechanisms that enable the youth to be agropreneurs, incentivise and promote corporate youth-led agribusiness investment, open market opportunities for youth producers of agricultural commodities, establishe knowlege platforms and communities of practice for the youth to share experience in sucessful practice, "which will encourage fellow youth to get into agribusiness," says Dr. Lokosang, the Senior Technical Advisor on Food Systems.

Dr. Lokosang is calling for the need for member states to support the participation of women and youth in gainful agribusiness opportunties. He argues that there is a nned to make "women’s empowerment an integral part of social protection programmes," he says and adds that "Improving woman socio-economic status and educational status enhances the benefits of social protection interventions, and improves the nutritional status of the household."

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