Patrick Sakyi leads Farmerline’s mobile commerce business.

02.08.2017

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How can rural youth be persuaded not to relocate to the cities? Our author highlights the potential for fostering entrepreneurship and creating role models.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to speak at the latest Brussels Rural Development Briefings (Briefing number 49) that took place at the ACP Secretariat in the Belgian capital. The briefing focused on “Youth in Agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture”. One of the key takeaways I got from the conference was that we cannot force rural youth into agriculture. We should rather provide a supporting environment for young people to thrive in agriculture and agribusiness. Young people can be encouraged to make use of the numerous promising opportunities that the sector offers, especially new jobs in the agricultural value chain.

There are many challenges now confronting rural youth. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has identified six principal challenges affecting young people going into agriculture:

  • insufficient access to knowledge, information and education;
  • limited access to land;
  • inadequate access to financial services;
  • difficulties in accessing green jobs;
  • limited access to markets; and
  • limited involvement in policy dialogue.

But there are many examples of young people, in various African countries, who are determined to shine in the face of these challenges. These “agripreneurs” are taking giant strides in all fields of the industry – from farming and processing to savings management, communication and smart data collection platforms.

My company, Farmerline, is an ICT4Ag company in Ghana. We are connecting farmers, through mobile technology, to important farming advisory information that these farmers did not previously have. We also provide a smart data collection platform to organisations working with farmers. Other innovation examples include the Lakeshore Agro-Processing Enterprise, in Malawi, which grows and processes soybeans and cassava with farmers who, again, could not have done so previously.

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