Within the framework of the 2015 Africa Agriculture Status Report developed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in collaboration with partners including CTA, which focused on Youth in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, CTA contributed a chapter on: “ICT and Youth in Agriculture” and “Innovative and Inclusive Finance for Youth in Agriculture” to the report. The objective of the chapter on “ICT and Youth in Agriculture” was to examine the role ICTs are playing in supporting youth engagement in agriculture in Africa, and to explore the current status, usages and emerging trends.

Furthermore, it attempted to highlight the key challenges and opportunities for Africa’s youth in agriculture and make recommendations to policy makers and other stakeholders on how to foster increased involvement of young people in agriculture.

While African youth have shown insufficient interest in agriculture, and their engagement have not been sufficiently supported, the emerging trend of applying ICT solutions to agriculture are attracting an increasing number of youth (back) to agriculture. These young people often bring their energy, creativity and tech-savviness to agriculture and are changing its landscape in Africa.

This is being done through various initiatives, such as better integrating ICTs in record keeping, promoting agriculture among other youth via social media platforms, creating virtual markets that help farmers/agripreneurs connect to markets more easily and get better prices, developing ICT applications for agricultural value chains. Youth are helping to advance new agricultural ICT-enabled practices, such as e-extension and precision agriculture. The inclusion of ICTs is gradually generating additional livelihood opportunities for them and strengthening their engagement with the sector.

Young people are, however, constrained by a host of factors, including the relatively high cost of access to ICTs, inadequate capacity, unreliable connectivity, weak (but improving) integration of ICTs into the agricultural value chains, and limited access to finance for their activities.

ICT uses analysed in this report build on the framework of engaging youth in agriculture through ICTs developed by the CTA ARDYIS project.

Examples of initiatives analysed include those implemented by stakeholders such as IICD, YPARD, IFAD, the Rwandan Ministry of Youth and ICTs (MYICT), Agri-ProFocus.

Key recommendations include:

  • Facilitate affordable access to ICTs for young farmers
  • Support ICT for agricultural research, innovation and youth entrepreneurship
  • Develop digital literacy programs for young farmers and agripreneurs
  • Strengthen ICT incorporation into agricultural curricula
  • Support the sharing of success stories on ICT and youth in agriculture
Authors also recommend that increasing ICT use and equipment in agricultural institutions, as well as promoting the development and implementation of sound e-agriculture strategies. This will better develop youth uses and innovations and benefit all stakeholders.

Authors of the Chapter: Ken Lohento and Oluwabunmi Ajilore.

Download the chapter here http://bit.ly/youth-ICT-Agri-report.

This post was originally published at Youth ICT Agriculture CTA Ardyis website and has been republished with permission.

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