The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Director for West and Central Africa Ides v.d Does de Willebois has called on African youths in the rural communities to stay in their localities and engage in agriculture.
Willebois made the plea during a chat with NaijaAgroNet, and stressed the need for the continent's youths to venture into farming and produce the food required for consumption in their respective countries.
"What I have seen in Africa for the past 30 years is that many farmers are old and young ones are not taking farming like their forefathers. I don't see the younger ones coming in, and if that continues, we will only be importing food,” Willebois said.
The IFAD official also stressed the need for the rural youths to be enticed to stay and farm in their communities, noting that some of them are ready to do so but are lacking support technically and financially.
He also used the opportunity to inform NaijaAgroNet on the relevance of the Earth Observation Technology which is being piloted in the Gambia and said that the Earth Observation tools is an explanatory tool for policy makers to know what is happening and to check the patterns of the crop, while it gives implementers and farmers the opportunity to see what happens to their environment, farms and so on for over a period of time.
"IFAD became very keen in promoting the tool and over the years, it is fortunate that the technology has become very affordable. That is why together with European Earth Space Agency (EESA) we are trying to see how best we can work in countries in West and Central Africa using this technology to develop base line data. Gambia is the first country to benefit from the technology which is being piloted in Jarumeh village, Sami District, Central River Region (CRR) north,” he said.