By Dike Onwuamaeze
AFRICA’S premier development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), is stepping up its campaign to encourage African youths to take to agriculture. Part of the Bank’s campaign is to debunk the age-long perception that agriculture is drudgery, good only for the old and the illiterate.
What is more, the AfDB, in collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN), is implementing a series of programmes to attract and retain youth participation in agriculture to boost food production. These include the Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment (ENABLE) and the African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA).
ENABLE is a programme for young Africans (18-35 years old) who want to start a business in the agricultural sector. It promotes, enhances, and modernizes agricultural entrepreneurship in Africa.
The AYA hopes to help launch 300,000 agribusinesses and create 1.5 million jobs in about 30 African countries in the next five years.
The Bank’s new push has become imperative because “the agricultural sector in Africa remains weak, with low levels of industrialization”, says Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the Bank boss.