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The role of youth farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Why young people don’t consider farming as a career? 🤔

Africa is home to 60% of the worlds arable land which has the potential to not only meet her own food needs but that of the world. and it agriculture accounts for 14% of the continents GDP

Why are farmers important?

Physiological needs (food, air, water) sit at the very base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In simple terms, food is essential to our very existence as humans, so naturally you would expect that farmers are given the utmost respect and support. But in reality, they are not, certainly not on the African continent!

Farmers are faced with challenges that make it unattractive as a career path for ambitious young people. For instance:

  • Social Challenges; farmers are faced with the stigma associated with farming and poor earnings from harvested produce due to farmers’ low bargaining power.
  • Economic Challenges; farmers struggle to access to capital to expand farm operations due to lack of collateral and poor access to large scale buyers due to powerful middlemen.
  • Environmental Challenges; farmers face longer harmattan and shorter rainfall seasons and this limits the effectiveness of rain-fed farming. Also poor-quality inputs such as excessive nitrogen and phosphorus based fertilizers.

Gross Agricultural Production value in Sub-Saharan Africa

The importance of agriculture to any economy is clear, and in protecting this industry it needs labor.

How can we involve more young people in farming?

Make it more attractive!

Over 200 million people in the Africa are between the ages of 15 and 24 and this is expected to double in number by 2045 according to the African Economic Outlooks. Meanwhile, a lot of the youths are leaving the rural areas to seek jobs in cities and these poses the risk of shortage of farmers in the future and also increasing the demand for for food in the rapidly growing urban populated cities. So engaging the youth in agriculture should be a priority. Here are some ways which this can be achieved;

  • Raising awareness on the importance of agriculture to the economy amongst the youth.
  • Modernization of agricultural processes can lead to considerable growth in opportunities across the entire agricultural ecosystem. The Sub-Saharan Africa contains 19 of the 25 poorest countries in the world so as a result most of the farmers practice subsistence farming or are using crude equipment and farm tools which makes farming less efficient.
  • Provision of farming and land subsidies to youth farmers make farming more lucrative and attract the youth.
  • Change the narrative of farmers as being poor uneducated people by giving farmers their well deserved respect and

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