The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has urged African leaders to make agriculture attractive for the younger generation, reports NaijaAgroNet.
He was speaking on the occasion of the 2017 World Food Day, AfDB president highlighted how Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness. The sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.
World Food Day, celebrated yearly on October 16, promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all, which this year’s theme focused on the need to ‘Change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’.
The AfDB’s ENABLE Youth programme, which grooming a crop of young agriculturists, is on course to make this happen.
Mahmud Johnson, 26, is the Founder of J-Palm Liberia which works to improve income for Liberia’s smallholder oil palm farmers by 50-80 per cent. He is also creating additional jobs for over 1,000 young people to work as sales representatives for his products.
“Despite the tremendous odds, we (African youth) are determined to maximize our abundant agricultural resources to create wealth, jobs, and socioeconomic opportunities in our countries and across the continent. We need our stakeholders to view us as serious partners in Africa’s transformation, and to work with us to expand our enterprises,” Mahmud said.
Mahmud and some of his employees have benefited from capacity building programs under the AfDB’s Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth initiative.
Like Mahmud, many African youth are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment, if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use. Under the ENABLE Youth program, the Bank is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop a new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.
“Our goal is to develop 10,000 such young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years. In 2016, the Bank provided US $700 million to support this program in eight countries and we've got requests now from 33 countries,” said Adesina.
The Bank considers investment in agriculture as key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration.
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