How youths can succeed in agriculture and food security ?
Article by: Arnold Mutamiri
During the Youth phase it is that time when a person starts to dream of the future and what it takes. In many rural villages across Africa and the entire world, to be a farmer is not part of this dream future. Farming is a lowly paying job.
Many youths are migrating to major cities or abroad where there are better opportunities. If the youth is scattered around the youth for other smart jobs as they put it, then what will be the future of agriculture and food without young farmers? What will then be the future of agriculture and food without young farmers? No farmer, no food. No food, no life. Why is agriculture not attractive to youths?
Farming is not profitable comparative to other jobs. In almost every country, farming is done in the rural areas set up where there are large pieces of vast land. It takes at least 60 days to 120 days for a young farmer to harvest grains for food.
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This is why most young people ran away from farming because of the prolonged period it takes before realising profits. To the young business farmers who are into poultry, they wait for 6 weeks for their chickens to fully grow into a good tradable chicken. The patience of waiting for one month and two weeks, which is half a month without pocketing anything, is what many youths do not like; hence they will end up running away from farming activities.
Land ownership is one of the major reasons why youth hate farming. The land world over is very expensive. Youths cannot afford buying a small piece of land for farming neither mature person can also afford. This is a barrier in farming even though land is cheaper in rural areas or countryside. Lack of good infrastructure in rural areas is what youths don’t like at all. Farming will end up being a profession of the retired people who are no longer interested of expensive urban life.
Youths who are into farming do it as a family farming project where the father as the head of the family controls farming activities. Young people are still energetic and the governments must support them for food security. The support must start at developing rural areas to better standards so that youths will be attracted by rural life. It must be noted that today’s young generation is after profit making and the governments should have more incentives for the young farmers so that they enjoy farming.
There are now success stories of young farmers after the world has realised the potential of young farmers who are into mushroom farming, inland fish farming and a number of diversified farming ideas like vertical gardening, processing units, home gardening, urban farming with greenhouse production etc. Therefore, making agriculture occupation prevalent among the youth is not an impossible mission. What is needed is proper policy so that youths can grab the farming industry with passion. If youths are to get high-speed internet in rural areas for research, they can do wonders, as they will have the time to make adjustments and introduce more good farming methods.
ICT should support agriculture so that more youths will get a farming interest. Meteorological services should be linked to social media under farming activities so that youths can plan their daily farming activities on laptops and smart phones with pride. When importing farming equipment, there should be a low tax on such farmers so that they enjoy farming with the newest technologies. Hope this will help someone.
Edited by: David Nhawu
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