Young people in Tanzania know exactly what they want. And it is not farming.
It is not a secluded case either, Youth across the African Continent will do anything but get their hands soiled in attempts to till the land for growing crops.
The fact that the agrarian industry is still stuck in the stone-age era, further alienates young people who seem to be mostly drawn towards digital technology and related inventions.
A just released, New Country Report by Heifer International, based on a survey conducted in 11 African states, reveals that farmers on the continent are missing out on AgriTech Innovations that Could Supercharge the Sector with Opportunities for Youth.
Released on International Youth Day, The Future of Africa’s Agriculture: An Assessment of the Role of Youth and Technology, report entails responses from 30,000 young Africans as well as inputs from hundreds of farmers and agricultural organizations.
“New investments are needed to stimulate access to innovations and encourage African youth to reconsider opportunities farming,” reads part of the report.
The Survey involved 29,900 youths, 299 smallholder farmers and 110 agriculture technology startups, innovation hubs and technology organizations in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It identifies challenges faced by smallholder farming communities and potential areas for innovation and growth.
The study also provides new insights into how the pandemic is affecting African farmers.
Some 40 percent of agriculture organizations featured in the report were forced to close at least temporarily due to the pandemic; 38 percent experienced a reduction in average purchase amount per customer and 36 percent still do not have the financial capital to grow back their businesses.
Senior vice president for Africa Programs at Heifer International, Adesuwa Ifedi, said; “Africa is not providing the financing or training to ensure its young people have easy access to the same agri-tech tools—like drone technologies, precision soil sensors and digital farmer services—that are transforming food production around the world.”
“Youth engagement in agriculture will be essential to recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, both to rejuvenate the continent’s agri-food system and develop economic opportunities for young Africans,” Ifedi maintained.
More than half of Africa’s rural population is employed in the agriculture sector. Young people under the age of 25 account for approximately 60 percent of Africa’s population and a large share of the 1.8 billion people around the world who are between the ages of 10 to 24 years old, according to the United Nations. Despite current youth migration to urban areas, the report found that young people are still interested in entering the agriculture sector.