Building inclusive agricultural technologies for young people
The report (PDF) by the Mastercard Foundation Youth Think Tank, investigates how well technological innovation is supported and how well technologies have reached agricultural communities in Africa. Policymakers and development practitioners have become increasingly enthusiastic about the ability of emerging technologies to unlock the potential for agriculture in Africa. While these technologies are both creative and compelling, few sector experts have explored both sides of this promise. This research captures the experience of young people in the agrifood system — both those who innovate and those they design solutions for. Instead of looking separately at these groups, the research sees innovators and adopters as part of a larger interconnected landscape, supported by those who contribute to building the enabling environments that help get technologies to communities. The research finds areas where the community of practice could do better to help improve collaboration: 1) Agricultural technologies should be tailored to optimize opportunities for young people — particularly rural young people — to maximize their on-farm activities and facilitate their entry into off-farm activities; 2) To ideate, young people need a resourced space where they can share ideas and access mentorship; 3) The dissemination of information through inappropriate channels, such as social media, is a barrier to the uptake of technologies at scale; 4) Young people have unaddressed gaps in the skills required to operate agricultural technologies; and 5) Both adopters and innovators are constrained by inadequate accessible financial products to invest specifically in agricultural technologies — with respect to both ideation and uptake.