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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Denting youth unemployment through agriculture in Africa thumbnail

Agriculture is not glamourous. It suffers from entrenched negative perceptions. In the minds of many African youths, a farmer is someone like their parents, doing backbreaking labour in the fields and getting little to show for it. Nonetheless, agriculture is the engine driving many African economies. If it were to get the same political support and financial investment as the mining sector, agriculture would be capable of providing more decent jobs and filling millions more stomachs with nutritious meals.
Francisca Ansah, an extension officer with expertise in agriculture and rural services, works with farmers in the upper west regions of Ghana. At a farmers’ conference in Ghana last year, she said the image of poor, ragged and weather-beaten farmers puts off many young people. Having seen their aging parents go through the traumatic experience of farming using basic equipment, these young people opt to settle in urban areas in search of employment. “Young people have second thoughts about agriculture as the source for jobs,” said Ms. Ansah.

Despite the negative perceptions, the agricultural sector employs as much as 60% of Africa’s labour force, according to the Africa Economic Outlook Report 2013, published jointly by the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN Development Programme. Yet because of low productivity, the sector accounts for only 25% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).


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1 comment:

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