Changing the norm, making agriculture “cool” for young people
This opinion paper (PDF) by the Participatory Development Associates Limited (PDA) discusses the perception of people on agriculture as a profession and ways to give it a more positive image. The challenge to attract the youth to the agriculture sector has been exacerbated by the image problem agriculture as a profession faces. Findings indicate that most respondents perceive agriculture as a rural activity for the poor which involves a lot of hard work with little profit. Others saw agriculture as a very profitable venture in developed countries but not worthwhile and associated with poverty in the developing countries. Attracting the youth to agriculture requires a shift in the perception of agriculture as a subsistence activity to a viable business enterprise. Additionally it is needed to create the enabling environment, which employs a modern approach to farming that raises productivity, making agriculture an attractive venture. Amongst the recommendations suggested to give agriculture a positive image are social media for agriculture promotion, making farmer role models visible to the youth, and strengthening the teaching of agriculture in schools, including field practicals. It is also recommended to use ICT to solve challenges in the agriculture sector, like mobile platforms. On top of that, participation of youth in agriculture policy discussions is advocated. Lastly, it is important that access to information, land and credit are improved.