Digital pathways for youth in agriculture: AFA Case Study
This case study (PDF) by Mercy Corps and the Mastercard Foundation aimed to identify successful pathways for youth livelihoods in agriculture. By 2030, youth will be 34% of Africa’s total population. Thus there is a strategic opportunity to engage those currently involved in agriculture. Rising education levels of young farmers seems to be tied to shifting preferences toward high-value commodities on minimal land. Moreover, digital trends suggest key entry points to engage young farmers who are seeking more meaningful livelihoods in agriculture. Mobile money offers a key delivery channel for digital financial solutions for smallholders, in addition to the existing youth usage of digital services for agronomic and market information. For this study, 23 young farmers across 10 villages in two Kenyan counties were interviewed, to more fully understand their financial and agricultural portfolios, needs, and outlooks. The study defines 4 youth personas that vary along key demographic, behavioural and attitudinal criteria, which reveals unique pathways to success in agriculture. The Determined Builders have achieved success by progressively and intentionally growing their agricultural business activities. Opportunistic Movers take big risks and have a strong belief in their own ability. Static Planners put family first and see agriculture as a means of achieving stability for their dependents. Rootless Climbers are ambitious for success in agribusiness but struggle to make their aspirations real. The study comes with recommendations for private sector and development actors to serve and support youth: 1) Design for the full range of youth personas and pathways; 2) Customize value chain approaches to address key youth constraints; 3) Use digital solutions to reach youth affordability and at scale, with high potential for impact; 4) Capture opportunities beyond production as enablers.