Youth in agribusiness within an African agricultural transformation agenda
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) & The International Labour Organizattion (ILO) prepared a background paper for the Feeding Africa conference of October 2015. The paper highlights several challenges in involving youth in agribusiness, such as access to credit and land, skill sets, involvement in policy dialogue, accessing green jobs, technical and business opportunities and mindset change. Furthermore, some specific challenges are mentioned for ICT support of rural youth in Africa. The greatest barrier to the adoption of ICTs by young farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in Africa is the associated costs. Furthermore, the enabling environment is mentioned as a critical factor in the involvement of youth in agribusiness. Nevertheless, clear opportunity exists for directing African youth toward agribusiness, and if done in an inclusive manner, to profound societal and economic benefit. Many mechanisms toward this goal are being examined by several research, development and investment interests. The next critical step is to develop a comprehensive program that forges widespread commitment and partnership, combining these approaches in an effective manner and delivering cost-effective opportunities to youth for profitable agribusiness development. This paper describes several projects which aim to address the role of youth in rural transformation. In addition, the authors stimulate the development of a special program to promote youth in agribusiness. This program should include: 1) skills and capacity development; 2) agribusiness development; 3) youth networking; and 4) program management and coordination.