The African Union Commission and the Government of Rwanda organized a regional conference for youth employment in agriculture in Kigali just weeks ago and were surprised at how many young people want to go into the farming business, and how many are already in agriculture and doing well.
Similarly, rural youth recently reported that access to information, lack of credit and negative perceptions around farming are the leading reasons why they are leaving small farming at such alarming rates.
High youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems currently affecting the youths of Africa.
When the typical African youths can’t find viable jobs in their communities, they begin to migrate from rural areas in search of opportunities in bigger cities or different countries.
When young people can contribute to community decision-making and take management roles in local organizations, they improve their situations while also contributing their energy and creativity to their communities.
Youths have many innovative ideas but are often excluded from planning and policy processes relating to the future.
Unemployment for youth is a growing concern, and yet most of them don’t want to get into the business of farming. What could be the reasons behind this?
Reasons Why Youths Are Not Interested In Agriculture
The ability of rural youth to engage in productive agricultural and non-agricultural activities has social and economic benefits for both the young people and the economy, but many youths in developing nations have negative awareness and views of farming.
Youths are usually not interested in farming, mostly due to their perception of farming being antiquated and unprofitable.
They Find It Non – Lucrative
In a conference organized for youths, almost all the youth respondents are of the view that the main reason for repulsion from practicing farming is that farming is not lucrative.
This was evidently shown from the words of one the respondents, who said that “Agriculture as a profession has failed to attract the youths”. Another respondent argues that most of the modern youth do not know what exactly agriculture is and they neither understand its necessity.
At present a very small number of youths are being directed towards farming which is appreciable, but, banks turn away potential persons interested to do farming, as they think that farming is a not viable business.
The image of agriculture traditionally, especially in Africa, has been more about subsistence (you produce just enough for you to eat), and not seen as a business.
Farming Appears To Be Socially Not Esteemed or Respected
Societies have the power to shape mankind. In the case of agriculture, society widely does bring it down somehow. There is this feeling that the society looks down on youths and their farming interests.
For instance, the graduated youths have an inferiority complex when they think about farming as a career option, and society makes them believe that if they fail once, they can’t overcome it.
Farming As A Profession Seems Unsafe And Uncomfortable
Families have always taken a frontline position when it comes to career options of youths, and the sad fact is that most parents themselves are hesitant to let their children take up farming as their career option.
It is obvious that many farmers who are switching over to other jobs encourage their children to prefer urban-based jobs, and being that we are in the modern technology world; no parent wants his or her child to become an agriculturist rather than be in a white collar job.
Since childhood, they are being insisted and programmed to become doctor or engineer or some sort of stable career.
Firstly, we have to ensure that youths can earn more income from farming than other jobs, and the government should take initiative to create awareness about best farming practices, precision farming, sustainable agriculture that derives remunerative income.
Agriculture subjects should be studied as a definite subject in all the standards. And finally, people’s mindset that exists now should be changed so that the youth mentality would be changed so that they feel successful at agriculture as a career.