Africa has an estimated population of 1.2billion with over sixty per cent being under the age of 25. There is very little job creation within African countries and these countries are failing to tap into this huge human resource base. The biggest option is to create wealth from rural areas. The greatest hurdle with farming is the negative image associated with farming. Farming is perceived as an industry for old people. It receives very little appreciation from the youth and often receives scorn.
Another challenge with farming in rural areas is the perception of the rural areas by urban youth, who view them as inferior areas with most countries experiencing exoduses of youth from rural to urban areas.
The third challenge is that African farming is often associated with a moment in life of ‘difficulty’. Often rearing cattle is a gruesome task, which requires individuals to milk cows early in the morning, allowing the cows to roam the rangelands and looking for the cattle in the evening. The whole model is not run efficiently in a business model offering very little incentives emotionally and financially. Custodians of the land have little love for their land.
The development of a sustainable agricultural sector will require a complete turnaround from the African youth. Rural entrepreneurs need to be developed from marginal areas in Africa. Numerous countries with efficient agricultural systems, implemented strategic solutions to rebuild and use marginalised lands to boost agricultural production. The areas are often characterised by extensive low input and low output farming systems.
Agriculture is an essential driver of economic development and a great area to offer opportunities to young people in Africa. The state of the African youths’ mind-set will play a pivotal role in creating sustainable agricultural models in rural areas. The sooner we start appreciating and loving our land the faster will it be for Africa to develop. A positive mind-set will be the ultimate solution to African food woes.