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Make agriculture attractive to youth
26 March 2013


'Africa needs to make agriculture attractive to youth' - African countries have been told to invest more in Youth development and put in place incentives that will encourage them to take to farming as way of solving the unemployment problems, reduced poverty and create wealth, according to the NEPAD Director of Programmes, Estherine Fotabong.

'Youth participation in agriculture should be encouraged, we are the youngest continent. Unemployment rates is very high among the Youth, but the sector provides great opportunities for job creations,' Fotabong said at a press briefing on the sidelines of the CAADP Meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

'The average age of our farmers is 59 years. That is worrying. We should look at various ways in which we can encourage our youth to participate in farming. As we move to the next phase of CAADP, the Youth should be encouraged to see small holding farming as business that they can key into'.

Seychelles minister of Agriculture, Mr. Peter Simon, said his country had invested heavily in agriculture as a means of accelerating development.

'Our signing into CAADP process came at a critical period. Our country has gone through economic reforms with agriculture playing key roles. We have put in place policies for the revival of the fishery sector, and the youths are being encouraged to participate to increase nutrition, food security and wealth creation', Simon added.

Also speaking, the Ghana Agriculture Minister, Mr. Clement Kofi Humado, said the country had increased investments to 11% of its national budget on agriculture. But the country has been unable to achieve the 6% agriculture production growth rate, one of the CAADP objectives.

He explained that the average rainfall experienced in the past few years was below the average for 30 years, stressing that this affected the production rate.

'We have mapped out areas of focus in the future to include building of irrigations. We hope that the fishery sector will picked up because of the new legislation put in place. We also want to mainstream the contributions of the private sector. We realised that the Youth simply don't want to go back to the use of hoes and cutlasses on the farms. So we are now focusing on the value chain, we are also implementing a programme on technology', Mr. Humado, added.

Source: afriquejet.com

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