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Saturday, October 3, 2015

AGRA report links under-25 unemployment, food insecurity

The 2015 African Agriculture Status Report's co-ordinating editor and head, strategy, monitoring and evaluation, David Sarfo Ameyaw, has said that the report highlighted a direct link between rising level of unemployment among the under-25s and food security concerns, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The report also said modernising Africa's agriculture sector to attract young people will help tackle youth unemployment and food insecurity, warning that the continent will not solve its chronic food shortages or worrying unemployment levels among its youth without wholesale changes.

"Channelling the energy, strength and dynamism of Africa's youth into productive, competitive and profitable agribusinesses will boost agricultural production systems, create jobs and generate incomes. The impact of youth involvement and participation in agriculture and food systems will be seen in sustainable economic growth and in the reduction of poverty and malnutrition across the continent," he said.

He told BBC News that studies had shown that a 1 per cent increase in GDP from the agriculture sector reduces poverty five times as much as any other sector. However, there were a number of long-standing barriers that prevented or deterred future generations of would-be agribusiness leaders.

One was the lack of access to land. "Africa has the highest area of arable land in the world but because of the limitation of our land-tenure systems and land policies, it is very difficult for the youth to access land," Ameyaw explained.

Another constraint was accessing finance facilities. "The report points out that only about 25 per cent of the young people in Africa have any form of access to finance, even things such as a bank account or credit card."

Dr Sarfo Ameyaw said, along with reforms to the barriers and constraints identified by the report, there was also a need to "rebrand" the image of farming and the opportunities for employment the sector offered, NaijaAgroNet gathered.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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