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Why Aren’t There Enough Youths In Agribusiness In Africa?

Ever wondered why most people dread direct involvement with agriculture? It is mostly because of the labour intensity that has for a long time been identified with farming. Who wants to enter their houses in the evening and they can’t even manage to watch a single episode of their favourite programme anyway? At such a thought, very few people are willing to engage in the sector.

It gets worse when you bring the youth into the picture. These ones have more than issues with agriculture. They first hate the dirt that they are sure to encounter in the practice, they dread the exhaustion from the practice and finally they miss the whole point of farming since they actually fail to know the way forward after harvesting; for instance, where will they take their produce? Approximately how much are they to gain from a certain crop? How do they get the produce to the relevant market? among other questions.

Even though the term agribusiness had not been used until 1957, agribusiness as a practice is thousands of years old. The term has however come to gain popularity in the recent years, but commercial farming has been in practice longer than any of us reading this has lived.  Why is it that agribusiness is yet to be embraced fully especially by the younger generation in Africa then? There are a number of reasons for this:

Africa as a continent has placed office jobs very high in rank in comparison to any other sought of jobs. People who wake up in the morning, dress formally, mostly suits and ties are highly valued in the African society. Irrespective of what exactly those people do at their places of work and how much income they gain, those people will be highly esteemed in their residential estates, their villages and even along the streets as they walk.

Since the African youths have grown to know that ‘official honour’ custom, their mind develops set to work in an office setting somewhere.  How much money they desire to earn is not a priority at all- where to work (environment) and how to appear to other people is more of a concern to most people in Africa. If agribusiness is to gain a stable footing amongst the African youth, then self-esteem trainings are inevitable. The young generation must understand that a personal life has very little to do with other people’s opinions. They must be willing and ready to carry their various degrees to the farm or rather have a professional focus on agribusiness right from the beginning.

The older generation must also encourage the youth. These ones have been a great obstacle in the manner in which the youth explore agriculture. Visit a village where a graduate is farming and you will understand why most of such are doing odd jobs in the urbans while they have left expansive lands in their up-countries. The graduate farmer becomes the talk of the village- from one corner to the next. He/ She becomes the best example of how irrelevant education has become in Africa. While such a youth could be comfortable practicing farming, such negative words from the people in his surroundings might discourage him to an extent that he/she could also leave the village if they are not the ‘hard nuts’ types.

It is clear that the African youths are needed in the farms. It is also undoubted that agribusiness is promising in both returns and growth opportunities. However, a lot is yet to be done to get enough youths into the practice. Trainings, conferences, workshops on agribusiness are more than needed. Awareness must be created to the entire African society that agriculture is as strong an industry as medicine and engineering if not stronger. Although there is no way to introduce official outfits to active agripreneurs, there is still much hope. If, for instance, one is doing agribusiness right, opportunities to wear suits and ties are numerous, for example, during agricultural conferences. Basically, outfits are a no issue in human, national or continental development- Africa must be made to understand that.