Agricultural activities seem uncomfortable and unsafe for the youth fuelling the unemployment crisis in Africa.
People dedicated to agriculture are perceived to go through a lot of things, ranging from stress associated with work to unproductivity due to infestations.
Youths usually want to look their best and have a comfortable work condition, and because starting to farm involves digging, tilling lands, watering, removing weeds, burning, and maybe encountering snakes, scorpions, and other earth creatures, they would rather remain at home than to join the farming train.
In education, the evolved African educational curricula fail to include material agriculture. Some schools teach agriculture but mostly the soft aspect of it, with few or no practical sessions.
This generally affects the interest build-up of youths towards agriculture.
However, the Africa Internship Academy under the umbrella of People Initiative Foundation (PIF) seeks to change this course by encouraging and supporting all youths who want to venture into agriculture.
Several campaigns have been launched in various countries within Africa to create a sense of inclusion for youths and to change the dominant stereotype and misconceptions towards agriculture as a career choice.
The youth have it that agriculture takes much time and effort without guaranteeing absolute success.
With the contemporary youth craving quick money within the shortest possible time, agriculture which requires hard work and patience leads them to lose interest in it.
Agriculture is perceived as socially non-prestigious by most unemployed youths who are surrounded by agricultural opportunities but they refuse to see them. And even if they do, they are reluctant to take advantage of them.
With this, they will hesitate or say no engage in farming but would prefer to be international agricultural scientists, a researcher, an agricultural officer, a banker or a government servant, a handful will dare say they want to be farmers.
Graduated youth would rather chase after ‘white and blue colour jobs’ than work on a farm.
Societal stereotypes and perceived inferiority complex of agriculture makes it difficult for even parents to encourage their children, in case they decide to venture into agriculture or farming as a career option.
There is not enough exposure of contemporary youths, especially those in urban areas to agricultural activities.
Unfortunately, family lands which could otherwise be used for farming are being sold to be used for building and other activities.
Because youths are concentrated in the urban centres, they get little or no exposure in the field of agriculture, hence lack the skills and motivation to go into that field.
But, there is now a tremendous improvement in the agricultural sector according to Debbie Stabenow.
“Agriculture looks different today – farmers are using GPS and can monitor their irrigation systems over the Internet. With the introduction of modern technology and the internet, agriculture has been made much easier and quite enjoyable. This is a great motivation to all youths who want to explore the scope.”
Some governments have also developed initiatives to help build the agricultural sector and make it more effective thus more youths are beginning to build interest in the field and are doing exceedingly great.
Agriculture is one of the sectors on the continent with a reasonably high level of revenue from export activities in Africa.
The continent exports commodities such as cocoa, coffee, timber, cashew and maize among others.
With food demand increasing globally, youths all over Africa can benefit immensely if they ventured into agriculture to make up for the deficit hence improve their lot.
Agriculture can help by creating jobs and opportunities for the youth which are greatly needed to help grow and move the continent forward while also improving food security.