African youth unable to access agri-technologies amid financing gaps

Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice-president for Africa Programmes at Heifer International

According to a research released on Thursday in Nairobi to celebrate International Youth Day, the majority of African youth have been unable to access the technologies and innovations needed to help them into agriculture.

Heifer International, a global development organization, compiled the paper titled “The Future of Africa’s Agriculture: An Assessment of the Role of Youth and Technology.”

It stated that closing the technology access gap is “critical” to encouraging Africa’s youth to pursue farming as a full-time profession.

According to the report, which is based on a survey of 30,000 teenagers in eleven African countries, removing technological, financial, and capacity constraints will ensure that this cohort be a part of the continent’s agricultural transformation.

“The best way to engage youth in agriculture in Africa is through technological innovation,” the report said, adding that access to land and training will stimulate the growth of youth-owned agricultural enterprises in the continent.

According to the report, only 23 per cent of African youth who are engaged in farming are using any form of technology geared towards improving productivity.

However, the youth who were surveyed in the report said they were ready to engage in farming as a business subject to the availability of capital and digital tools that predict weather while improving market linkages.

The report says African youth have defied many hurdles to harness emerging technologies like drones, artificial intelligence, remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS) in their quest to transform farming systems.

Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice-president for Africa Programmes at Heifer International said that access to digital tools will ensure the continent’s youth are an integral part of an agrarian revolution that promises food security and rural growth.

“Youth engagement in agriculture will be essential to recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, both to rejuvenate the continent’s agri-food systems and develop economic opportunities for young Africans,” Ifedi said.

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