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Agriculture as a subject has not been prioritised in many countries, and a question remains on how do we sustain the rise in population and at the same time maintain productivity on farms.
Albeit, the twenty first century has revolutionised the sector and has led more and more communities to participate in backyard farming.
Today’s edition elaborates on the importance enabling youth to take part in the farming community and how institutions and governments are facilitating the process of new generations joining the industry in Southern African Countries.
Importance of education for young farmers
Learning agriculture from childhood helps steer passion and its importance, whether it encompasses growing of various crops or rearing of livestock.
Being in contact with agricultural activities makes young farmers understand the art and skill in farming, making them acquainted to animals through projects such as handling piglets, kids, lambs and even calves, or teaching them how to transplant carrots from a nursery to the garden.
It is amazing to note that many tertiary institutes, not only universities, offer courses in agriculture, animal husbandry, food technology and so on. Hence, students can major in any field they are interested in and education becomes accessible to people of different social extraction.
Enthusiasm and passion seen among youth can result in development of projects and start-ups that are often subsequently scooped, funded and developed into or by companies.
New perspectives for young farmers
Nowadays, financial institutions grant the youth to partake in projects that bring about employment and favour the development of sustainable models for the agricultural sector.
Prior to commencement of these projects, young farmers undergo appropriate training. In so doing they are taught some among the most required new skills such as farm management techniques, record keeping, stocking rates and feed formulation.
Venturing in this sector with a set of brand-new useful skills brings success to many young agripreneurs. Successful youth in agriculture share their expertise on social networks; such as Facebook, Instagram and so on, and many communities are popping up on the web from every corner of the planet. Knowledge is shared and intelligence becomes collaborative. Their testimony can be viewed all over the world and people exchange views on ways to improve a certain concept that can be globally discussed. Social media are for sure a powerful means to spread the awareness on how many opportunities are there for young people in the agricultural sector.
Agricultural companies and entities have catched up to the new “social” environment and use that as a bait to involve the new generations. Companies and institutions often host competitions for the youth to partake in, and these challenges help economies with strategic development and create scale economies by making the sector more competitive.
We have plenty of examples that witness this trend, starting from all the projects and young entrepreneurs we met during our recent participation to the LEAP4FNSSA Dialogue for action and brokerage in West Africa. The participation of sponsors in the development of new projects and ideas helps increasing the feasibility and bringing to market new products.
Benefits of projects for young farmers
- Start-up capital invested by sponsors improves the standard of living for the youths in projects.
- Creation of employment for the youth, and this stifles dependency thou allowing them to support their families.
- Inspirational to the other youth, who might have hesitated on participating in competitions.
- Regional or provincial monitors do routine checks on youth awarded to run these projects. Hence, less chances of errors as each youth strives towards good management of their respective projects.
- The concept of agriculture among youth is also referred to as an economic driver to help in tackling food security around the globe. Therefore, youth engagement needs great support from everyone in a community.
Take home message
Amidst the pandemic as youth, let’s spread our wings and continue with being involved in farming activities, even if it’s just backyard farming. Always value humble beginnings!
In summary, educating the youth about farming helps strive towards sustainability of our natural resources.