Kagame urges more youth involvement in agriculture
President Paul Kagame has challenged African youth to adjust their mindsets on agriculture and increase involvement in the sector.
Kagame was speaking yesterday during the Presidential panel at the African Green Revolution Forum.
Kagame said that to make agriculture more productive on the continent, among the necessary adjustments include a change of mindset among the youth in regards to agriculture to make it a career of choice.
The President who is also African Union Chairperson said there is adequate knowledge and technology for the youth to take advantage of to create wealth and improve social wellbeing.
With the knowledge and technology available, there has never been a better time for young Africans to get involved in agriculture and agribusiness, and create wealth and well-being, for society as a whole.
“We require a rapid shift in the mindset of our young people towards agriculture as a career choice. With the knowledge and technology available, there has never been a better time for young Africans to get involved in agriculture and agribusiness, and create wealth and well-being, for society as a whole,” the president said.
Despite being the significant majority of the continent’s population, African youth have been seen to have little involvement in the agriculture sector.
According to the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) statistics, the average age for farmers in Africa is 60 years while in Rwanda it’s estimated to be around 55 years.
The President also noted the need to foster political and scientific leadership to create an enabling environment that will spur growth in the sector.
“Better coordination within governments is essential, and so are much stronger links among policy-makers, scientific researchers, financial institutions, and investors. We have to make sure that Africa’s farmers are getting the most out of the many good partnerships that have already been set up in this ecosystem,” Kagame added.
Kagame further called for revival of agricultural extension services to mobilise citizen farmers and impart them with the latest skills to increase productivity.
“Revitalising agricultural extension services is urgent. We have to do a better job at mobilising citizen-farmers, and treating them as clients. They need the latest skills and services to increase their productivity, and better manage risk. This will also serve to make careers in agriculture more attractive to young people, and more profitable as well,” he said.
Like other sectors, the role of the private sector featured prominently in increasing productivity and output in the sector as they avail the most funding.
In this regard, Kagame said that the African Continental Free Trade Area would further increase the viability of the sector as it would ease and increase trade across Africa.
The president also made a case for innovation and research within the sector, calling on input from multiple stakeholders.