There is growing concern worldwide that young people have become disenchanted with agriculture. Recently, engaging youths in agriculture has been a prominent topic and has risen up the development agenda. Agriculture, as the science and occupation of cultivating land and rearing animals, livestock, and husbandry, plays a pivotal role in the economic development of Africa as a whole and Cameroon in particular.
About 80% of the youthful population in most African countries still live in the rural areas. And with the prevailing rate of limited employment opportunities, it is essential for them to be involved in agricultural activities. The annual increase in the rate of youth unemployment in Africa and Cameroon, in particular, is so appalling. Our schools produce hundreds of thousands of graduates into the labor market, where there is little or no job opportunity. As a result, the economy suffers for it. The economy consumes more than what it produces.
Youths are the primary productive human resource of socio-economic development. It is, therefore, essential to identify the roles of youths in mainstream development. Cameroonian youths are diverse in ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic backgrounds. Such diversity necessitates customized initiatives to meet needs and activate their untapped potentials.
Agriculture as Africa’s escape from youth unemployment
If about 25.5% of unemployed youths become involved in agriculture, the nation would experience a boom in rapid economic growth.
Every youth has a role to play in any segment of the agricultural/food value chain. Governments’ efforts in improving agriculture and agribusiness should, therefore, be pivotal as it will enhance the nation’s development. Value-added agriculture will create decent jobs and eliminate poverty among the youths which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and AU agenda for 2063.
As a sustainable development practitioner and Manager of African Resource Group-Cameroon Ltd, I have partnered with development agencies like; NEPAD Agency, World Bank, AU-IBAR and the African Union. This partnership has been to serve no other purpose than to build youth capacity in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors, and also, to transform the lives of youths and women in Cameroon.
With more than 300 million young Africans poised to enter the job market over the next 15 years, there is an urgent need to focus on agriculture as a source not just for food, but also, of employment and economic growth.EN FR