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Youth and ICTs - Shaping the future of Agriculture and Rural Development

Baobab, Issue 61, March 2011 (page 16)

February 24, 2013

Agriculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries faces many challenges. Most of these developing economies are heavily reliant on this sector for food security and economic growth. Agriculture accounts for over 50% GDP in some countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. This coupled with the high percentage of population (up to 60% in Africa) living off the land, means that the need to secure the continued interest of youth in agriculture is imperative. All the more true following decades of underinvestment.

The laxity of young people taking up farming may be due to, but not limited, to lack of farming incentives, inadequate access to productive assets such as land and capital, inadequate infrastructure, limited well functioning markets, high population pressure on land and inadequate access to appropriate technologies by farmers. In this issue, we look at ways in which farming can become 'attractive' for the youth.

Food security continues to be a top agenda in many places. With the continuous ravaging of our environment by climate change, then that future needs to be today. Action needs to be taken to involve the youth in farming. They need to get involved in efforts towards food security for all, better management of land as well as have innovative ways of farming.

The period August 12, 2010 to August 11, 2011 was declared the International Year of Youth by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. Operating under the theme Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, it is clear that attention must be drawn to pull in the participation of the youth in local, national and global development. In Africa out of the 1.2 billion people, 70 percent are under the age of 25. On the other hand, experts estimate that in 50 years, the worlds population will stand at over 9 billion people and to feed it, agricultural productivity needs to increase by 50 to 70 percent.