Partnerships Are Key in Transforming Agriculture: Machakos Agribusiness Conference

In one of the quarterly publications by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2017, H.E. Olusegun Obasajo, the Chair of the Africa Food Prize Committee and Former President of Nigeria, called on African governments to reach out to development organizations ( private sector and civil society) to form partnerships to solve challenges facing African farmers. This of course assumed that the governments first met their targets of allocating at least 10% of their budgets to the agriculture sector according to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (Malabo Declaration of 2003) that sought to guide the prioritization of the continent’s agriculture as the path to prosperity. This is also supported by data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations that shows that small holder farmers (who make up over 70% of the population) are eight more times effective at job creation compared to other sectors

Africa’s food market is projected to grow to US$ 1 trillion annually by 2030 from the current US$ 300 billion due to change in the size and structure of the population. Currently, most of the arable land is in Africa. However, despite the continent having over 65% of its population being youthful, this has remained a challenge instead of an opportunity. Agriculture in Africa is associated with poverty and every time the sector is mentioned in youth forums, most of them see a a poor hand hoe farmer. African governments which will be able to harness these three issues ( youth bulge, rapid urbanization which is pushing the demand for food and the availability of arable land) could succeed in solving youth unemployment. Bring in information technology, and see the numerous opportunities the sector could provide.

Young African farmers are facing numerous challenges. To take Kenya as an example, youths in agribusiness, lack timely agronomic information, inadequate access to financial services (credit and insurance), markets, unfavorable land tenure systems and limited involvement in policy formulation by both the national and county governments. If Agriculture is to truly be the path to transform Kenyan economy, the the youth who are almost 70% of the population have to be at the center and not the periphery.

This calls for a coordinated and integrated response from government agencies, civil society, private sector and the donors in order to address the challenges and make agriculture attractive to the youth. Towards this end, department of agriculture, food security and cooperative development of the Machakos County Government today (30th April 2019) partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), USAID and other fourteen organizations facilitated the Machakos Agribusiness Conference under the theme; ‘Shangilia Vijana na Agribiz’. The forum is aimed at raising the visibility of youth owned agribusiness ventures to attract others to the sector, link them to organizations that support agrifood sector and provide a networking opportunity among themselves, the government and other organizations. This is an idea that agriculture rich counties in Kenya should emulate in order to commercialize the sector to a market driven, entrepreneurial perspective to create jobs along the entire food system value chain to create jobs, alleviate poverty, make farming more resilient to climate change shocks and attractive to the youth.

One comment

  1. Zimbane Landcare Maize Project : Zimbane A/A, Mthatha, KSD L.M. Box 98 Mthatha 5099. Eastern Cape Province South Africa. Contact Details : Chairperson Mr Solomon Solly Mbiko. Just a comment: I think a key in transforming Agriculture people in Rural Area must go back to farming, as it was during Grandfathers, where there were no terrible stories that we often hear from radios, see from TVS and read from news papers,that there are people busy hunting others with Bushknives aiming to sell their bodyparts. Going back to farming will also reduce the infux from Rural Area to Urban Area. I am happy that we have same idea that farming is the answer to fight hunger and reduce poverty. Also this will keep people busy working soil so that soil give them food food keep them healthy also food end up giving them money so that people will be able to build themselves a better life. In all Agriculture is answer to all problems we are all facing,let us all go back to farming so that we may no more hear again that somebody set himself alight just because what he have been selling has been consficated. Let us try by all means to stop those terrible stories,I also think involvement of youth and women is important because women has influence youth have muscles because sometimes farming need muscles and fresh mindset. In order for us to achieve our goal for food security youth must be part of the proccess. I think we must all shape up to fight hunger as there is say,says that a hungry man is a angry man which in turn cause instability in the continent. Therefore let us pull up our socks work hand in hand as partners,It is also wise to start training youth about Agriculture at an early stage so that we will have a future generation capeble to do things better in future. I also fully support the call made by H.E Olsegun Obasajo. The chair of the Africa food prize committee and former President of Nigeria where he called on African Governments to reach our to development organization ( private sector and civil society) to form partnerships to solve challenges facing african farmers.I believe that in Africa we have enough land which can feed us all if we can work together as partners which will be a wayforward in solving youth unemployment in Africa. As we know that our youth often cross borders looking for green pastures,where they end up get injured or end up locked behind bars far from home because they cross illegaly.Let us go back to farming as farming is the path to prosperity. I thank you,Yours Truly Solomon Solly Mbiko.

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