Photo credit: CIAT Blog
Can the entrepreneurial spirit of young people be harnessed to encourage them to turn to agriculture? Credit: Georgina Smith / CIAT
Farms without farmers?
The next generation of smallholder farms in Africa may have no one left to run them.
A visit by a team from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in the Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya and Adjumani districts of Northern Uganda – a region that was embroiled in more than 20 years of civil war waged by the Lord’s Resistance Army – presents an alarming scenario for the years ahead. Here we meet more than 158 farmers and are struck by the sentiments of the older farmers.
“The youth are not interested in farming. They prefer migrating to urban centers to look for off-farm work and engage in petty trade, mainly operating boda-boda,” said one man, who has been farming all his life. Boda-boda is a term that is commonly used in East Africa to refer to motorcycle taxis.
Separate interviews with a team of 24 local agricultural experts reveal that the average age of farmers is 45 and young people between 18 and 30 are disconnected from the farm and realities of agricultural production. For this particular region, it has negative impacts on post-conflict recovery, given the role of youth in rural community continuity and agriculture.
Read the full article: CIAT Blog
Author: Willem Van Cotthem
Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development. View all posts by Willem Van Cotthem
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