Online Discussion Forum: Engaging African Youth in Agribusiness in a Changing Climate

Posted by , posted on Monday July 10 2017(3 months ago)

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Engaging African Youth in Agribusiness in a Changing Climate

Online Discussion Forum
12th July to 12th August 2017

 

Agriculture is a key sector in most African countries and accounts for nearly half of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). With rapid population growth in Africa in the past two decades, per capita food grain production has been reducing resulting in food scarcity coupled with imbalanced diets. A large part of the population has become malnourished. Agriculture in Africa is affected by risks such as climate change, increased market risk, and tightening resource constraints. With the removal of constraints to agricultural development, it is anticipated that Africa’s agricultural output will increase from the current US$ 280 billion per year to as much as US$ 880 billion by the year 2030 (AfDB, 2015). According to a World Bank report: “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness”, Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods (World Bank, 2013).  National governments need to work side-by-side with agribusinesses, to link farmers with consumers in an increasingly urbanized Africa.

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Africa has the largest population of young people in the world, with 226 million people aged 15 to 24 (UNEP, 2015). Each year, young people graduate from school seeking to enter the continent’s workforce, often with no success. The continent is facing a double employment crisis—a lack of jobs for youth, and an increasing number of young people in need of work. However, as the largest sector of employment in Africa, agriculture promises opportunities for job growth and economic prosperity. There is an emerging trend, where the youth are realizing that white-collar jobs are elusive, and are turning to agriculture to earn a living. Although there are opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness, African youth often do not have the necessary skills or access to resources to enable them successfully to earn a living from the agricultural sector, either through employment or starting their own businesses. It is widely expected that for youth to be actively engaged in agriculture, agriculture needs to be profitable and attractive. With climate change and increased climate variability, African farmers need to adopt climate-smart technologies that will improve higher yields, more drought-resilient crops, and livestock, including higher incomes and improved food security. With increased technological advancement in the agriculture sector, Africa needs to identify how to create employment for the youth by bringing them into the formal agribusiness economy linked to domestic and foreign markets.

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It is against this background that the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CGIAR Research Program on Livestock, the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), AgriProFocus, and ICCO Cooperation have put together an online discussion forum to dialogue on the challenges and opportunities for engaging youth in agribusiness in a changing climate. The online discussion will run for one month to commemorate World Youth Skills Day (15th July) and International Youth Day (12th August) and will culminate in a webinar to wrap up the online discussion and develop a framework for concrete youth engagement in agribusiness. The discussions will be focused on the following questions:

  • What challenges do youth-led agribusinesses face in a changing climate?
  • What are the business drivers of climate-smart agriculture (CSA)? And how does this appeal to youth?
    • What career and business opportunities do CSA offer to youth?
    • Across Africa, are there any concrete examples of successful or promising innovative CSA practices and technologies that the youth can learn from?
  • Which policies and programmes should governments put in place to facilitate the involvement of youth in agribusiness?

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Expected participants

  • Youth in Africa and beyond who are interested in Agriculture and Agribusiness
  • Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) network members
  • CSAYN members
  • Experts working with youth and on youth issues
  • Private sector
  • Development organizations including NGOs and CBOs
  • Scientists (from national and international research organizations)
  • Policymakers
  • Any other Agribusiness stakeholders

The results of this online discussion and subsequent webinar will help inform a study aimed at generating evidence-based, meaningful, and actionable recommendations to African governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

For more information, contact: cana @ cgiar.org

81 Responses to “Online Discussion Forum: Engaging African Youth in Agribusiness in a Changing Climate”

  1. alpha

    Agriculture Holds the solution to addressing youth unemployment in Africa. The need to tap into the energy and Innovativeness of young people to address Food security issues is Key and in this lies a perfect match to create jobs for the youth through engaging them in Agriculture. However this is not the case.We are facing food shortages and experiencing high unemployment levels among youth aged 18-35years. We would like to find ways in which youth can be motivated to engaged in Agriculture as a business by choice and not as a last resort choice considered for people who have failed in life. Post your ideas on possible interventions that can support this.

    • Oluwaseun

      Addressing the issue of getting youths to be motivated to take up agribusiness by choice is a big challenge. I think we need to get to the root of the problem. How well is Agriculture as a subject rated in our primary/secondary schools? Even in most tertiary institutions, Faculty of Agriculture is often times portrayed as a dumping site for students who do not make it into faculties like engineering, law, sciences etc. Only a few students actually choose Agriculture by choice. Upon graduation, there’s no direction as to what to do with what was learnt. There is a mis-match between theoretical knowledge acquired in school and required skills in the real world. The status-quo about agriculture has to change. It should be seen and portrayed as a sector of opportunities and not of threats and uncertainties. Youths have to be engaged in reorientation and mindset changing activities. Youths have to be motivated with incentives, favorable polices, grants for start-up and market linkages. Youths are passionate and energetic, if all of these factors are in place, they would definitely be willing to engage in Agribusiness by choice.

    • Maureen

      Its starts with how we communicate this? Just like not every one gets into business, its the same thing with youth and agriculture. I think the real picture is that not every young person will be interested in getting into agriculture and agribusiness. The reality is that not every young person needs to. As climate change is a reality across the board makes it even harder for young people to choose agribusiness as a career or business choice .. so how do we combine these two challenges and still make agribusiness interesting for young people. The key word is interest …… by focusing capacity building efforts and resources on youth that have already made the choice to engage in agribusiness will yields better impact in terms of success stories of young successful agripreneurs but also creates a good platform to showcase what is possible if young people engage in agribusiness and how they can engage in it as a business. This create a pull effect for the doubting Thomas’ among the masses that agribusiness is profitable and viable for youth. This also create a good platform for the youth to inspire and learn form each other as a peer to peer mentorship and coaching approach. On the other hand there of course needs to be coordinated efforts between stakeholders – so that there is minimal or no duplication of efforts rather more collective action and building on each others successes as well as learning form each other failures and challenges. For youth to cope with climate change and the challenges it presents stakeholders a need to re-think on how this is integrated in the different interventions, programs and products they design.

    • damisco87

      Alpha, You are quite right that the involvement of young people in agribusiness has to be by choice. Intervention has to focus more on climate smart technique of using the available resources efficiently to increase food production e.g. encouraging hydroponics and aeroponics will actually increase production but we must also note that these technologies are very expensive to acquire.

      We should also create an innovative financing that will allow climate smart innovative techniques to thrive among young people.

    • damisco87

      In addition to my point above on climate smart technique, if we must get the right set of people into agribusiness, there are two advice I have:

      First, we need to catch our children young into agriculture. Enough is enough painting agriculture as a sector or mere punishment in our secondary school. I never knew agriculture could be a business or a sector that could create wealth at all event till I was admitted to study plant breeding in the university, I went from professors to change my course until my mindset was changed. If we can introduce this mindset change activities into the school curriculum, I am very sure we will get right people later on into this field.

      Secondly, people between ages 18-35 can also be brought just the way my organization has been doing since 2012. It is still on the issue of mindset change. In my group for example, we have over 50% that did not study agriculture but got engaged after their mindset was changed and today, we have some of them running independent businesses along agricultural value chain. We could achieve much because we created intervention program that got them seed fund after we got them trained.

  2. ntiokamd

    Dear colleagues,

    Welcome to the online discussion on Youth Engagement in Agribusiness in a Changing Climate and below is the question for week one ( July 12 -19, 2017):

    What challenges do youth-led agribusinesses face in a changing climate?

    Looking forward reading from you all.

    • williamf469@gmail.com

      I suggest that as this discussion moves forward, we consider the various levels of “agribusinesses” where youth are/can be involved: sustainably intensified homestead farming systems that increase productivity of crops, livestock, fruit & vegetables, and more for consumption and sale (farmgate); storage & processing; aggregators/buyers that feed into the appropriate value chains; wholesale and/or resale, etc. Then there is the service delivery systems for training and technical support. There are challenges wherever youth envision their path into agribusinesses. Climate change has the greatest impacts at the end of the day at the smallholder level but in my humble opinion, climate smart farming systems are a reality for many households in Africa. I feel the opportunities for youth-led agribusinesses are best at the community level.

    • mutaasahumphrey

      There are very many challenges that Youth-Led Agribusinesses face in a changing climate and among them are the following:
      1) Lack of practical experience and skills because of lack of land where some of the technologies can be tested or implemented.
      2) The nature of youths. i.e. they are very volatile and dynamic. Their speed of change and the speed to adopt of their agribusinesses might not be the same, so they get bored so fast because the speed of change of their businesses is not determined by the owners but other reasons including bureaucracies, external reasons, macro-economic reasons, etc.
      3) Limited access to finance because they don’t have collateral security because of their nature and age. Financial institutions cant fees comfortable lending to young people because they don’t have what to stake except their enthusiasm and passion.
      4) Most of the youth-led enterprises are out competed by the powers that be in the business world. they are faced with competition from other grown businesses that beat them at securing deals and bids because of longer profiles and experience. except when the client is intentional in only wanting supply or services from youths.
      5) The staff attrition and turnover of their staff; because they are youths they will employ fellow youths. and these are still in a stage of self discovery and looking for greener pastures always. the notion that ” There will always be greener pastures somewhere” is stronger in youths than it is in mature staff with families and children.

    • Foevarr

      I cannot speak for other countries but in Nigeria, there are a lot of challenges that impede youth-led agribusinesses. A few of them are:
      • Lack of orientation: A vast majority of youths in this country are not exposed to agriculture. The orientation of the country is such that oil exploitation, white-collar jobs, politics ad entertainment are the only viable opportunities. An average Nigerian youth believes that agricultural practices are only for the poor and lesser-priviledged.
      • Limited finance opportunities: This is probably a common problem everywhere.
      • Inter-generational injustice: The political system in Nigeria is poised in such a way that only older citizens play an active role. Through this way, the older politicians continuously enact policies which are unfavorable to youths wishing to venture in different areas of endeavour. The legislators have even gone to the extent of squashing a “Not too young to rule” bill.
      If these are other problems can be rectified, there would be an increase in youth-led agribusinesses.

    • Aroma

      The biggest challenge is lack of organization and information gap. The youth in Africa from diverse social,economic,professional and cultural backgrounds needs to be mobilized,organized into groups and trained on the value of agribusiness as a first step before graduating them to start individual agribusiness enterprises

    • Eden

      Greetings to everyone. I will like to cheep in my own little humble opinion, but before I do that permit me appreciate those who have contributed before.
      Fore what concern the question we have at hand from Mr. Ntiokam,

      What challenges do youth-led agribusinesses face in a changing climate?”
      I will start by saying that the agribusiness is a good business because its sustain the community and the world at large. I’m into the agribusiness too.
      As for the challenges that this sector is facing, (1) there is financial change, no enough financial resources, (2) no enough good mechanical equipments for mass production to be done, (3) no proper training for most of the youth in this sector.
      If the government and institutions can come in to help and encourage the youth who are in this sector by meeting the above mentioned need it will be very good.

    • damisco87

      Hi Ntiokamd,

      I will respond based on the fact that I am already seeing young people getting involved in agribusiness. The challenges I see young people facing are:
      - Having access to simple technologies that will help them manage the climate change issue for improved productivity
      - Access to network that really addresses this climate issues we are discussing and that provides solution to on-farm challenges
      - Innovative insurance that focuses on this discussed subject

    • Oluwaseun

      Generally speaking, climate change hasn’t come with too many positive effects if there are any at all. The challenges range from Soil fertility degradation, harsh climatic conditions, erratic onset and cessation of rainfall, etc. Climate change has led to a major evolutionary change in the disease triangle. More pests and pathogens are evolving faster than us to cope with the change in environment.
      These pose a threat to youth led agribusinesses in terms of increased cost of production through the use of fertilizers to supplement low soil fertility, adoption of several remedial techniques and technologies, reduced yield and productivity in crops and livestock respectively etc. All of these challenges have serious implications for profitability especially in the production sector of the agribusiness chain.

    • Daniel matolo

      The biggest challenge is us the youth….. Most of us don’t feel like trying the “Agriculture as a business “…..So we therefore need to unbind these attitudes and then after that we can talk about the external challenges… Remember that the biggest obstacle is you..yourself…. Conquer that you conquer the world….. Come on my dear youths…… If we can make agriculture a profession and treat it like any other white color job…. Trust me… You will never regret starting agribusiness

  3. mbosompem

    There is the need for Africa to Consider Precision Agriculture (PA) as means of mitigating some of the effects of climate change. Precision Agriculture is a highly mechanized and information and technological based Agriculture production system that emphasis site- specific application of inputs to achieve high and optimum productivity as well as environmental sustainability though judicious use of inputs. To achieve these, PA combines innovations such as Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning system (GPS), Variable Rate application (VRT) and Yield Monitors in farming. The site specific application of inputs and monitoring helps minimize cost since inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, water are applied only when it’s needed. This also reduces environmental loading by applying agrochemicals only where and when they are needed. it also reduces excess applications of agrochemicals and other input that can affect the soil microbes as well as beneficial insects. The combination of highly mechanized systems and ICT also facilitates large scale and commercial production.

    Because PA involves ICT and highly sophisticated Mechanization, we need to encourage youth especially those in higher education and institution to begin to begin to explore the potentials PA in Africa.

    • CSAYNZ

      I agree with you but I also strongly feel that the main challenges youths in Africa are facing is failing to identify climate hazards from rainfall patterns that are disrupting the farming cycle. Once this is clearly addressed our farmers will be able to plan ahead

    • damisco87

      Site mapping is key when it comes to precision agriculture. How many land area is mapped based on specific crops that can be grown in each region or area? If we do not get this right, we are only still moving in the same direction we have been moving.

  4. CSAYNZ

    This is Diane, CSAYN Zambia Country Coordinator also holding a position of Training ,Research & Knowledge Management Manager at GCU level.

    • alpha

      Thanks Jim for such an interesting piece of article.Indeed a lot of great insights regarding the extent to which young people are able to tap into the existing opportunities in the Hot Spot areas.However on the other hand we need to analyse what capacities do young people have to support their engagement in Agricultural transformation and how can we harness those capacities.

    • ntiokamd

      Many thanks Jim for the interesting resources and shall ensure it features in our final report.

    • Mungai

      Hi Jim, yes, the blog is very insightful and opens up the discussion to exploring the sectoral approach as we examine how to engage youth in agriculture.

  5. meshackmothepu@gmail.com

    I have read this, indeed, if there would be any organization that would like to partner with ours under cooperative sectors more specifically agribusiness cooperative

    • Fakunle

      In terms of answer to this questions, here are my submissions, youth should be involved in agricultural policy process. Young people need to be really involved in policy planning till implementation if the policy really want to capture their interest and voluntary involvement. 2. There should be the provision of land and credit facilities to the youth especially the seed capital to start. The use of ICT in agriculture should be intensified and means of linking social media to agriculture must be found out. All other necessary infrastructures in agriculture should be provided especially in rural and agrarian areas.

  6. anne miki

    The youth is the hope of our future. Farmers in Africa are getting older – much older. The young people are vibrant and creative and therefore need to be engaged in good time and introduced to productive agricultural adventures. However, let us agree though that for many young people, Agriculture is not their preferred career or business option. Is this because agriculture is not youth friendly enough or “cool”? Young people need to be equipped with new skills set, good policies at all levels, providing start up capitals and provide the necessary trainings on agriculture enterprising ideas.

    • ntiokamd

      Hi Anne,

      Great input but will rather say YOUTH are LEADERS of TODAY!!! and NOW!!! This will help the existing youth of today and now benefit from existing capacity building trainings as well as knowledge management towards educating more rural youth and most marginalised communities.
      This will ensure no one is left behind and Agribusiness should be for youth and with youth for sustainability!!!

    • Mungai

      This is indeed a good observation. Perhaps stakeholders need to examine what roles the youth can play along the value chain. Also, perhaps with time and with improvements in technology, agriculture may become more attractive as a business option.

    • Fakunle

      I gladly applied to study agricultural economics in the university but was surprised that 90% of my classmates then, did not have interest in the course. In fact, most of them left the course before our graduation while few struggled to finish. Based on the question asked, agriculture is not a preferred career or choice course for young people because of wrong mindset and poor orientation of youth and parents about agriculture. Sincerely, my parents did not want me to study agriculture because there are uncountable number of farmers that died poor and they don’t want me to be among the number. Moreover, facilities that will make the beauty of agriculture come out and attract youth are not there in Nigeria. Due to advocacy and other awareness creation on important of agriculture, Nigerian youth are now developing interest to practice agribusiness, but the lack of tools that will make agriculture a business still cause lots of frustration to us. As a youth agrepreneur in Nigeria, I’m very sure that if necessary policy are implemented correctly and not just formulated and other facilities are provided, Nigerian youth will willingly get involve in agriculture

  7. kiongozi Muhaari

    It is an indisputable fact that “The Africa We Want-Agenda 2063″ will, to a great extent, be made possible by WE, the YOUTH of Africa and agriculture is a key factor in achieving that end – Agenda 2063. In essence, our involvement in the agricultural sector cannot and should not be assumed.

    I bet among the main challenges we face are:

    1). Value delivery.
    2). Poor pricing.
    3). Stiff competition from big players in the various sectors.
    4). Sufficient capacity building among young people in regard to agriculture.

  8. Khama

    Yes it is undoubtedly true that the bright future of agriculture, income and food security depends on us the youth. To achieve this, we need to go beyond just producing to adding value to agric products. This, I believe will more than triple the income from direct sales of produce as raw materials to the Western world.
    We need to produce, add value, consume before considering exporting excess.
    So therefore let’s consider building our capacities across all areas of the value chain to be able ro achieve this goal.

    • Fakunle

      This is highly necessary and will make agribusiness more attractive to the youth

  9. Nyasimi

    Africa’s rural areas are isolated and disconnected from the rapidly transforming peri-urban and urban centers. The rural areas where agriculture is mainly small scale is not profitable or ‘cool’ enough to attract the youth to venture into. Investments in agribusiness ventures along crop and livestock value chain are needed to make it attractive for young people. Governments, NGOs and other development organizations needs to ensure that the mindset of the youth shifts from considering agriculture as a subsistence way of life to a business, that can generate income and lift them out of poverty. Youth should be involved in producing, processing, selling and exporting of both crop and livestock products.

    • Ngeerax

      That very right Sir,I concur with your views. I work for an organisation that has facilitated youth in a rural area to engage in agribusiness venture of bulking and cooling milk. The youth have been facilitated with a seed capital to buy milk and cool it before it’s sold to processors. 200 youth are now directly supply 3000 liters of milk to the milk chilling plant. Their incomes have have improved from selling milk at KShs 25 to 38.
      Lesson learnt is that the youth are attracted at the value chain point where they earn money fast. Value addition would be attractive compared to primary production.

  10. Boipelo Laetsang

    Youth should be encouraged into the value chain of Agriculture which is more business related, then they will see the demand require education and understanding of climate change and other economics related to sustainability and running farming as a business.

  11. shaibu

    I am Shaibu Mohammed Tiyumtaba, a livestock socio-economist and an Agribusiness specialist working for CSIR-Animal Research Institute, Ghana.
    The problem with Agriculture as as far youth engagement in Agribusinesses is that, many of them are unaware of climate change and how it affects their farming systems. Many interventions on climate change and agriculture development are usually directed to farm household heads to adopt or otherwise. The youth are not usually involve in discussion concerning agriculture, meanwhile they form a dominant force to the supply of farm labour in continental Africa.

  12. naome_chakanya

    some of the challenges that youths in agribusiness are facing in light of climate change is (i) the limited capacity building in climate smart agriculture (many are still engaged in agri-activity mechanisms of the past when climate change was not a real threat) (ii) the lack of climate-risk insurance schemes (once their production is negatively affected by climate change – they are unable to deal with the associated risks and the poverty risk become very high & the climate finance is not linked to insurance schemes) (ii) limited exposure to good practices of climate smart agriculture (iv) limited adoption of renewable energy (mini hydro & solar) technologies to promote agriculture productivity (many still rely on rain-fed agriculture (v) limited take-up pf drought resistant crops by the youth in agriculture.

  13. Leocadia

    From my experience what I have gathered is that indeed farming is rendered not ‘cool’. but what makes it not cool? Firstly most small scale farmers do not engage their youth in planning and sharing of ideas, but only as labourers (I could testify to that. after having graduated with a Bsc in Agric and very enthusiastic still my parents would never take any farming advice from me because they believe so much in their experience and not new knowledge. The situation was worsened because I am an African girl child).

    Secondly after harvesting all first grade produce is sold on the market and the farming family only feeds on produce about to rot – if not rotten and old grain most likely affected by weevils. What can be cool about that?

    Thirdly often in the African setting when a child tries out a project whilst on their father’s land, they are often reminded that all that they have is not theirs, even the land. It all belongs to the father. that alone pushes the child away and they wold rather invest their time in pursuit of other things they can own.

    Fourthly and most importantly (sorry for stating it as the last point though very important) are the gender aspects in agriculture, GBV to be precise. After marketing the male counterpart is the one who is usually in control of the finances. He uses the money generated by the family at his own will and most probably abusing it. The young children in the family look at how much as a family they labour in the fields, produce so much and still have nothing to show for it. They look at how sad their mother seems unhappy, how poorly dressed they all are, the poor diet, definitely there is nothing cool about that. The first thing they do as soon as they are old enough is leave the farming life and don’t want to be associated to it (resulting in urban migration usually). To them poverty is written all over the farmer’s lifestyle. But is that true?

    So what I am saying adding on to what everyone else has said is, gender equality is a possible solution and older farmers have to be capacitated to understand how best they can make the industry attractive for youth. They have to change their mind set and learn to work together. Old +New = Best

    • Mungai

      Thank you Leocadia, these are key issues that touch the core of society, and indeed, a change of mindset across generation may help change our attitudes towards agriculture as a business.

  14. ngouambe

    HI,
    Agribusiness today is made by young people and must be SMART. since climate is a key element for agriculture, we cannot make agribusiness without taking into account cliamte component.
    the question is to know, how to succeed in agribusiness within this context of changing cimate?
    I really like the above intervention and will come back with my contribution this evening.
    see you soon!

  15. Never

    The person’s age and agriculture issues are rather complex. During their infancy (child) stages they tend love agriculture so much that they go to fields with parents and even cry to do farm activities. As they get old (youth), the shun agriculture because of ‘ the dirty and heavy’ activities involved. Thus, they prefer white collar jobs in offices and to work in industries. When people get old, they retire from industries and opt to engage in agriculture again. I refer this as sunrise (child stage), midday (youth) and sunset (old aged) stages.

    • Foevarr

      I fully agree with Never. The challenge now is how to encourage youths in their adolescence and early adulthood to embrace agriculture. Thankfully, organisations like CSAYN have decided to take up the mantle and address this issue.

  16. Precious

    young people need to be focused on agriculture even though it is a long term result because it is a comparative advantage for Africa, young people need to know the farming related to the field

  17. canuasscam

    Agribusiness is an essential tool for a successful youth engagement but let there be proper youth training on climate smart agriculture as climate changes affect their out put greatly and in addition to this funds should be made available to these young people to be able to effectively engage in this

  18. Victor Esendi

    Dear Young Agripreneurs,
    Thanks for contributions on the challenges that youth face in agriculture. I see these challenges being turned into opportunities since most suggestions are actually solutions.

    Considering that Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries–that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change (World Bank, 2017). Climate Smart Agriculture Seeks to achieve three major outcomes:
    • Sustainably increasing productivity – by producing more food to improve food and nutrition security while spurring development by increasing the incomes.
    • Adapting and building resilience – CSA aims to reduce vulnerability of agricultural and food systems to drought, pests, disease and other shocks; and improve capacity to adapt and grow in the face of stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns.
    • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions – CSA seeks to lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced while avoiding deforestation from agriculture and identifying ways to suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
    The three objectives of CSA offers opportunities both on and off farm. With this in mind what are some of the opportunities that CSA offers specifically to the youth in terms of:
    • Career and business opportunities?
    • What are some concrete examples of successful or promising innovative CSA projects that youth can learn from?

  19. Cathy

    CCAFS is already engaging youth groups in East Africa through several initiatives. Through the smart farms, for example, youth groups are testing a combination of CSA practices—greenhouse production of tomatoes and green beans for better disease and pest control, continuous production to meet market demand; rain water harvesting irrigation and fish farming for improved nutrition; and uptake of resilient breeds of goats and sheep. Other activities include agroforestry, where fruit trees are integrated with multipurpose trees for fodder and fuel wood, and tree nurseries for income. These activities are supported by Climate Information Services (CIS) for informed farm decisions. Read more about CCAFS engagement with the youthhttps://ccafs.cgiar.org/blog/food-money-pocket-engaging-african-youth-climate-smart-agriculture#.WXBktdOGNBw

    • Victor Esendi

      This a very good example and shows the immense opportunities that CSA offers. The beauty of CSA is that it allows for intensification while having minimal impact on the environment, this offers increased income generation.

  20. luchez

    The problems facing youths in agribusiness are enormous but it shouldn’t deter courageous minds from finding a way through.
    I agree with most of the comments so far and I want to make some inputs. In Nigeria, Lagos state to be precise, I know a handful of youths who have adopted the green house production of tomatoes and some vegetables but unfortunately, that is how far they have gone. And they defied great odds to get that far because as I later learned they were graduates of agricultural sciences, extension and economics and so wanted to make a mark.
    However, on a large scale many youths do not want to be involved in agriculture because it is viewed as the poor man’s vocation here in Nigeria. Everyone wants a white collar job and as a result there is the ever growing problem of underemployment and unemployment giving rise to societal vices such as kidnapping and robbery just to mention a few.
    Methinks work geared towards changing the mindset of youths about agriculture in this part of the world would be a strong start. Youths want to see results, they want to be able to make ends meet. They are tired of government promises of subsidy and aid to finance agroprojects that they never get to lay hold of. Right now, some are feeling betrayed because they have been dragged into buying the ‘agric crap’ and have been abandoned by the govt who lay more emphasis on oil.
    Willing youths need to be empowered by concerned bodies. They need to be put in charge of their own lives and destinies. They need a re-orientation. They need to know that ‘you can own a farm even though you are a graduate of accountancy’. They need access to the elusive subsidy on farm equipments. They need to be taught practices that boost productivity, they need to be taught packaging, preservation and processing techniques. They need to be taught how to launch deep into the huge waters of agriculture even though they are newbies ….my humble opinion

    • Cathy

      Thanks for sharing Kehindai. Engaging with the private sector is also a pathway to involve the youth in agribusiness and garnering the necessary support to facilitate their participation.

  21. Cathy

    17 July 2017: Young people joined the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President and high-level government representatives in New York, US, to mark the Third Annual World Youth Skills Day under the theme ‘Skills for the Future of Work.’ Participants stressed the importance of best practices and policies to address the skills gap and ensure that young people have the opportunities and skills to access quality jobs in rapidly digitizing economies. http://sdg.iisd.org/news/enhancing-youth-skills-can-help-advance-sdgs/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2017-07-25%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE&utm_content=2017-07-25%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE+CID_c5ad4670bfa86513e589142262fb799c&utm_source=cm&utm_term=Enhancing%20Youth%20Skills%20Can%20Help%20Advance%20SDGs

  22. Emmanuel Ngore

    The sad situation is that despite improvement in eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger is on the rise as environmental degradation and depletion of our ecosystem is taking toll. The first and second Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 1 and 2), specifically sets clear target indicators towards ensuring a food secure world which resonates well with Africa and Kenya which is food scarce (Agenda 2030). These very trends reflect well in Kenya and Africa as well.

    While this may paint a sad scenario, it’s often said that beneath the problems, lies the solution and extreme poverty exacerbated by unemployment amongst Young people presents the solution for young people to be Agri-prenuers and to tilt the equilibrium. The young people in Africa, therefore, are the ultimate solution to problems attached to food insecurity and unemployment and should be able to turn tables and make agriculture a profitable venture.

    • Joshtush7

      It’s true that Agriculture present a good platform for job creation for youths in Africa.
      Either way, the quest for eco-friendly and healthy food production, Environmental imbalances (water pollution, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, etc.) and the health risks caused by intensive pesticide use calls for sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation measures.
      So to acquire this, there is need to consider Integrated farming.
      #Intergrated Crop management
      #Intergrated soil fertility management
      #Intergrated Pest managemnet
      just to mention a few,. with full considerations of this, there lies a golden opportunity for youths to engage in a sustainable agriculture in the changing climate.

  23. maximilien

    Dear Leader

    Yes agribusiness is made today by young people but the level of attractivity of agriculture to youth is very low ( lack of infrastructures, finances facilities; insuficient skills to spark their imagination in action)
    Our agriculture is entirely depending on the climate, changing of climate is a reality, It’s why farmers made not only Good Agricultural Practices and also SMART agriculture before expecting to a profit.

    Soon

  24. aalasesay@outlook.com

    Youths are the main stay of present day Africa, and the movers of the continent’s destiny, with youths as active, educated, productive and entrepreneurial citizens, Africa shall sustain its achievements and transcend its limitations.
    Africa accounts for more than 50% of the youth population. However, the continent is plagued with youth migration and poverty. What drives our younger generation into issues like migration into Euro and other places through risky means.
    Youth unemployment remains a major social problem, however with a structural unemployment rate of 60% amongst the highest in the world and West African sub-region.
    One way to address these issues is employment for youth in form of agribusiness and innovative. Our organization Sierra Leone School Green Club (SLSGC) has vowed to work for the promotion of forest preservation, wildlife protection, climate change, education and agriculture. We are working with youth in the Western Rural Area of Freetown where they are prone to crime and drug abuse, we are providing food for work for theme so that they will engage themselves in agribusiness.

  25. TabiJoda

    This age is most characrerized by the catastrophic convergence of hunger, poverty, landscapes degradation and natural disaster driven by climate. When crops are failing, water volumes declining, and rainfall patterns distort predictability of farming seasons, dependence on conventional agriculture practice becomes a disaster risk. Global population will be 9 billion just about the period slated to achieve the global goals. The question is what is the corollary of this bulge on the planet especially with respect to ability to feed these mouths? Therefore, adopting climate smart agriculture practices not only deliver solutions to food insecurity challenges of today and the future but provide cost effective and people centred climate adaptation and mitigation techniques with far reaching social opportunities to create new jobs for women and youths and economic spaces for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets on eliminating poverty and hunger, decent jobs and more. Climate smart agriculture is the innovation for climate resilience. Thank you CGIAR

  26. damisco87

    Hello everyone,

    This platform is indeed needed at this crucial time that we need to save our continent from hunger and youth unemployment.

    I can say with confidence that African youth have seen a great potential of job creation and a decent living opportunity in agribusiness. As an advocate for this course over the last 2 years, a very good percentage of African youth have had a rethink to embrace agribusiness.

    To achieve the aim of this platform of engaging more youth in a climate change agriculture, we must facilitate access to simple technologies specific to each location these youth are which will increase productivity. We must also keep providing capacity development opportunities and continuous updating of these curricula as the climate keeps changing. We need to provide resources that will enable start-ups and allow start-ups to grow through financial and mentoring opportunities. Lastly, We need to allow a network of various interventions to share knowledge in such a way that various youth from different programs/interventions can learn and create a sustainable network.

  27. Oluwafemi1

    I am Ayanleye Samuel Oluwafemi, a passionate student of forestry in Nigeria. i am a member of the popular Young Professionals for Agricultural Development, the active involvement of youths for sustainable development in the 21st century is not negotiable. i want to key into this state, climate smart agriculture and technologies will really be a plus to practicing agriculturists and farmers in this challenging time of climate youth. Youths are the future of tomorrow, these youths have gone to school to acquire experience and have been exposed to a lot of activities and skills through inter-generational dialogue during conferences and seminars and this can be incorporated into the industry for development but as interesting as this can be, there is the issue of income and job problems experienced by the youths and this can be a serious problem. I am looking forward to that time when youths will be involved in policy making and participation in climate smart technologies…Best Regards, Ayanleye Samuel Oluwafemi. YPARD,NIGERIA.

  28. Nyasimi

    As we come to a close, the last question targets at identifying policy support that will guide us in developing recommendations for youth in agri-business in a changing climate. A number of you have highlighted challenges such as; 1) Lack of practical experience and skills, 2) The nature of youths, that is, they are very volatile, dynamic and easily get bored, 3) Limited access to finance because they don’t have collateral security, 4) Most of the youth-led enterprises cannot compete in the present markets, and 5) lack of information.
    Therefore, which policies and programmes should governments put in place to facilitate the involvement of youth in agribusiness? Example of efforts that are already in place include a) Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy 2017 -2021 (http://osiepepa.weebly.com/uploads/5/4/0/3/54031875/kenya_youth_in_agribusiness_strategy_2017-2021_a.pdf) and b) USAID grant to create 2,000 new jobs for youth in the apparel industry (http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/business/2017/07/usaid-initiative-aims-to-create-2000-jobs-in-the-apparel-industry/)

    • Muthoni

      In Kenya the perception of Agriculture is changing. Young people are starting to recognise it as a profitable, alternative source of employment. However all the issues raised above hold especially access to financial services, and access to land. I feel however that more effort needs to be put into understanding the Agricultural Value Chain (AgVC) as a whole. Whereas emphasis has been put on the production and post harvest, there are multiple opportunities across the AgVc in terms of suppy/manufacturering of inputs, transport services, storage facilities, value-addition activities. All these present opportunities for young people for Agribusiness but not in the traditional sense. One case that easily comes to mind is Leleshwa farms which is know producing Leleshwa wines, an award winning Kenyan made wine.

  29. TabiJoda

    As I’ve mentioned on the Cana twitter handle, quite a lot of things need to be in place. In my opinion as a youth farmer I can cite my challenges and expectations from governments as thus: Governments must invest more on agriculture and its entire value chain. Most often they emphasise on food production only without looking at post harvest hurdles like cost of managing losses, processing, packaging and preservation of foods especially perishable foods. If investment on the value chain is well enhanced it can pool a great deal of youths join agriculture and also catapult those of us who are already in the field to greater heights. This is possible through a non-corrupt and well managed longterm loans scheme, and insurance for youths in agriculture by governments.

    In 2015 I invested in 3500 layer birds on my farm at the cost of $15000USD. Regrettably when government gave early warning on bird flu an order was for every farmer to mass kill their birds and we did so without any compensation from government. This has affected my agribusiness deeply and my passion to trust agriculture as a sustainable business for livelihood. Governments need to create safety nets for farmers to fall back in events of such.

    Governments must recoginse that agriculture does not work in isolation
    therefore any possible attempt to encourage youths in agriculture must include Investment in logistics involved in getting agriculture products from farms to markets. That means good roads, reliable communication systems, reliable cooperatives, and reliable third parties in whom farmers can trust.

    Other factors include what I reflected in this article http://tabijoda.blogspot.com/2017/02/agriculture-is-most-important-sector-of.html?m=1
    I’m tabijoda@gmail.com

  30. Nyasimi

    @Tabijoda, I concur with you with regards to considering agricultural sector as part and parcel of the other sectors. Dr. Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industries Department at AfDB argues that the road to agricultural transformation in Africa and engagement of youth can be achieved through the following, 1) power and light up Africa, 2) industrialize Africa, 3) increased investment in hard and soft infrastructure, 4) integrated Commodity Value Chains, 5) opening up agro-industrial processing zones and corridors, 6) capacity and skill building, 7) developing climate resilient agricultural practices and 8) removing gender barriers.

  31. Peniel

    The Agriculture sector is the largest employer of the population and continues to offer enormous potential in employment and livelihood to Ugandans including the youth. In 2012/13, the agriculture sector employed 72% of the working population, 77% of whom are women and 63% are youths residing in rural areas (UBOS,2015). With the increasing unemployment, especially among the youth, and the potential of the agriculture sector to provide employment opportunities to the youth, the government and other stakeholders need to create and promote decent employment interventions that are gender responsive to attract young people in agriculture. Nevertheless, youth continue to shun agriculture due to the risks, intensive nature,low profitability and poor enabling policies that enable young people engage in agriculture. Uganda’s biggest challenges limiting youth in agriculture include limited access to finance because the banks need collateral and most youth dont have them even agriculture insurance by most banks and government institutions isnt youth friendly and above all limited access to markets. The challenge of accessing markets has made most youth self cheaply on their farms loosing allot money. Climate smart Innovations need to be promoted through the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture (NSYEA) special thanks to FAO that has supported the ministry in doing this.

    • Peniel

      Peniel Rwendeire- Country Coordinator-UGANDA Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN)

  32. onyekachi

    Good day all it’s nice to join you all here. and thanks to the planners of this great program and hope that the youth will take the advantage of this to say what they are all facing when it comes to Agri investment. We all in this sectors are facing one big problem or the other. Financial, economic, and social. and most of the countries are trying by providing funding and loans and others are not at all.

  33. oscar

    Bonjour .Pour moi ,afin d’inciter les jeunes à s’intéresser d’avantage à l’industrie agroalimentaire, le gouvernement et les politiques doivent mettre sur pied un mécanisme de financement adéquat et accessible aux jeunes, promouvoir la formation dans le domaine a travers les établissent de formation professionnel spécifique mais aussi avoir des échanges direct avec les jeunes en zone rurale afin de voir de près les réalités et fournir des conseils sur la nécessité d’appliquer les nouvelles techniques face au changement climatique

    For me, in order to encourage young people to take an interest in the agri-food industry, government and policymakers must develop an adequate and accessible funding mechanism for youth, promote training in the through the establishment of specific vocational training but also have direct exchanges with young people in rural areas in order to see the realities and provide advice on the need to apply the new techniques to climate change

  34. TANG Erasmus

    Many of the respondents whom I presume are African Youths point to others as those to be engaged in Agriculture. However, I was expecting to read on some of the drawbacks youths experience in their respective Agricultural practices and the proposed solutions from the succesful ones. Given that drawbacks will discourage further investments while successes will be a motivating factor. That said, I would now present my case which to a greater extend simulates that of youths in Southern Cameroon. Agriculture has long been practised for subsistence and not as a source of income by most families. Applied agriculture has been sacrificed for theoritical agricutural courses in the existing institutes of agriculture and technology. Real-time application of aquired agricultural knowledge is rare. I am involved in tomatoe gardening for income generation to support my university studies and family. I witnessed tremendous losses in 2014 and 2015 seasons due to drought and insect infestations. Although I am still in this agribusiness, many youths have been discouraged and have moved to the other income generating activies such as bike riding, taxi, commerce (electronics and dresses), seeking goverment matricules for monthly salaries and guards in companies both in Cameroon and Dubai. WHY ARE THEY NOT GETTING INTO AGRICULTURE? Success stories are rare. We need more success stories at individual level to drag other youths into the sector. Many of those succeeding in Agriculture are potential and rich businessmen who have the capital. DO GOVERNMENTS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY? Not a direct role. Bilateral projects in Agriculture do not always end successfully, making research products and services inaccessable by the farmers in need. Therefore, Youths need motivational and practical training programs to open up the minds of our youths. In all, Youths and FInancing Institutes hold the key. Youths, do not be afraid of loans and land surface to exploit for your activity. Do it with the determination to make as more money as you invest. Our governements, national agricultural institutes and ministries should engage in real-time practical agricultural projects and not fundamental research. Get active youths in projects and follow them up to get many success stories that will attract other youths.

    • ntiokamd

      @ Erasmus, This is such a great and detailed inside on how Cameroonian perceive agriculture as a whole and agribusiness in particularly .

      That said you are a potential advocate in ensuring we ( youth) do not reinvent the wheel but two into existing potentials towards addressing some of the challenges and opportunities the agricultural sector offers to African Youth .

      Let’s keep revamping this discussion for we have barely four ( 04) days left to hear from our counterparts across the continent .

      Thus , will advice you all spread the discussion link across your networks far and wide to ensure NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND.

    • Muthoni

      How did your crops do in 2016? Was there improvement? How did you overcome the loses? Have you adopted new farming practices? You may think yours is not a success story but as long as you did not quit agribusiness, you are on the journey to success.

  35. Nyasimi

    Are there examples of National Youth AgriBusiness Strategy? In April, Kenya published a five year youth strategy (2017-2021) that aims at Positioning the youth at the forefront of Agricultural Growth and Transformation. Please share examples of national and regional youth strategies that exist.

  36. Fakunle

    Policies and programmes that need to be put in place to facilitate youth involvement in agriculture
    1. Provision of seed capital/ start-up funds to support youth in the agribusiness.
    2. The policies should be such that the funds are easily accessible by the youth in agribusiness
    3. There is a need for proper market linkage between the youth farmers and the up-takers
    4. Good infrastructural facilities such as tractor and other farm equipment should be made available in a sustainable manner at low cost to the youth.
    5. There is need for proper training on the good agricultural practices (GAP) for any youth going for agribusiness.
    6. There is a need for increase in agribusiness bootcamp across each countries of Africa. This will equip the youth with the necessary information and skills necessary for successful business in the agricultural sector. The graduate of such bootcamp should then be linked up with the financial institutions and up takers.
    7. Land is another major challenge facing youth in agribusiness, government and other stakeholders should ensure that good agricultural land is made available for youth going into agribusiness.
    8. Government should make policy that will favourable to the farm especially in the import restriction.
    9. Government should at all times regulate prices to the favourable of farmers.
    10. Some of the government agency should support the youth farmers attest at the prime age of engaging in the agricultural business.

  37. Fakunle

    Challenges that youth-led agribusinesses face in a changing climate?
    1. Lack of youth exposure to climate smart agricultural practices that are specific to their locality
    2. Lack of functional irrigation facilities, cold rooms for perishable goods.
    3. Lack of improve crop varieties and animal species that can adapt to changing climate
    4. Difficulties in accessing the available finance.
    5. Inadequate farm mechanization facilities
    6. Instability of government policy
    7. Lack of continuity of government policies that seems to work
    8. Lack of youth access to quality farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, chemicals, livestock feeds and so on.
    9. Massive absence of Infrastructural facilities in terms of production, processing and marketing of agricultural produce
    10. Disorganized market structure of most agricultural produce

  38. ICCO

    Dear all,

    It is a pleasure to see all the contributions in this online discussion. Thanks to everyone for their input.
    As an NGO, ICCO Cooperation tries to make agriculture ‘cool’ again for young people. Some of our projects are:
    - AgriSkills4You. Through this program we trained youth in agribusiness skills in order for them to move from subsistence farming to farming as a business. Watch a movie about this project here: https://youtu.be/AvtijsmM1Wc.
    - Supporting young start-ups in the agribusiness with investments and business skills through Agribusiness Booster. Read more about it here: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/Expertise/Agribusiness-Booster
    And a story of an entrepreneur here: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/Portals/2/Files/ABB/Uganda%20AEN-min.pdf

    Recently, the vice-chair of ICCO visited Kenya and he was inspired by young entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector throughout the whole value chain he met, you can read his blog here: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/blogpost/young-entrepreneurs-in-kenia

    And other relevant blogs in this discussion:
    - About rearing crickets which are climate change resilient: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/blogpost/flying-food-steadily-to-the-market
    - About Africa, the continent of opportunity: https://www.icco-cooperation.org/en/blogpost/africa-the-continent-of-opportunity

    I look forward to hear more of your ideas and to the online webinar on August 30.
    Marinus Verweij, chair of ICCO Cooperation

  39. IGGY1

    Everything if not all has been said here about the challenges of youths in agriculture. In Nigeria here where poverty and unemployment is really hitting hard on us the youths,i see lace of interest in agriculture and agribusiness as the major problem. We spend almost a whole day in the social media commenting and analysing about politics. We all wants to be recognise as politicians or personal aides/assistance to bigger politicians. As a graduate of crop science having gone through this thread and all the comments,i have decided to make some resolutions:
    (1) I will strive so hard to source for a good cucumber variety and start a one plot cucumber farm.
    (2) I will use much of my time on social media to comment on agriculture.
    (3) Knowledge of climate change it’s challenges and smart climate change farm practices can only be attain we develop our interest in agriculture.
    (4) I’ve rise to the feat of advocating for the youths in agriculture and agribusiness.

  40. wouterkleijn

    Great comments so far and thanks for the opportunity to respond!

    I think the discussion on participation of youth in agriculture is an important one especially because there are so few (formal, salaried) jobs available. Moreover, a political economic argument can be made for increasing productivity of small holders to create multiplier effects, which help to create demand and jobs also in the urban areas.

    However this does not mean that (self-)employment opportunities are easily created. Most youth are not interested in agriculture and never will be. That is not only a consequence of the negative reputation agriculture often holds but also a rational calculation of labor intensity, expected returns and risks. Lets be honest: how many of us really want to be a farmer or entrepreneur ourselves?

    This challenges can only be reduced by addressing some of the structural constraints that hold back agricultural development. These are the usual suspects such as access to finance, knowledge, market information but also more higher level issues as corruption, supportive policies, infrastructure, education, etc. Indeed, not very different from the ‘elderly’.

    As Jim Sumberg alluded to in one of the comments above, this leaves us with a few sweet spots. Specifically in livestock (as I work for the International Livestock Research Institute) these will involve activities within value chains with considerable profit margins that do not require much land. For instance rearing of pigs and poultry but also related value adding services such as slaughtering and catering services.

    Again, only few youth will be interested which poses questions related to the cost-effectiveness of development interventions. Those who are not participating might have to rely on more general support systems such as unconditional cash transfers. As mentioned in one of the comments, experimental learning at highschool level (which should go beyond farming practices but also include marketing) is definitely an entry-point. Delivery of knowledge through apps and SMS will become ever-more relevant but will not be a huge employment opportunity in itself and still requires funding. Climate change will only complicate things further and the ‘multi-interpretability’ of term climate smart agriculture makes it hard to say something meaningful about the extent to which business opportunities for youth are less or more climate smart.

  41. Garmonyou

    Thanks for the forum and opportunity. Agriculture and Agribusiness can not be divorced. A true Agricultural activities of a Country is appraised by the way value is added to the commodities for its well being. This aspect should begin in secondary schools to get students earlier involvement with the aim of career counseling for youth. You do not have to become an agriculturist before getting involve in farming. There are lots of farmers who do not obtained formal education but have experience in growing crops and raising animals, etc. I strongly believe that young people should be orientated with the importance of farming and adding value to farm products.

    Besides, farming activities in Africa (especially Liberia) is difficult. Some of the reasons include but not limited to: 1. High rate of illiteracy, 2. Lack of funding, 3. Labor, 4. Subsistence farming, 5. Bad farm-to-market road, 6. Lack of facilitates (in terms of factories and equipment for value addition), Farming activities still crude in about 98 % of the farming communities, etc.

    However, with the above background, it is therefore important to educate the youth in secondary schools before their tertiary endeavors. That local farmers should be trained and provision of equipment for value addition. If the farmers can realize that the products from their farms can be transformed into something else for consumption at both local and international markets, they will appreciate this.

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