Connecting for agricultural efficiency start with understanding the inter-relationship of youth, ICT and agriculture in the present world.
Agriculture has a glaring picture in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the small scale farmers and youths constitute part of the stakeholders to achieve these goals. In Nigeria, smallholder farmers constitute the larger percentage of disadvantaged people in terms of productivity, literacy rate, income, and access to information and trending technologies. These form a notion of agriculture being the last resort for the youths.
As part of the Social Media Week Event held in Lagos, Nigeria, the HEDA Resource Center organized an event with the theme; #AgroConnect 2.0: Technology as a Smart tool for Agricultural Sector . The AgroConnect 2.0 is a platform that allows small scale farmers, policy makers, information technology experts and young people who are passionate about agriculture and food security critically look at the challenges of the agricultural sector and develop information technology solutions that will help end hunger and improve food systems, as well as improve nutrition.
The platform adopt a youth participatory approach with the first phase focusing on giving voice to young people in agricultural development and those who aspire to be part of the solution providers to the emerging agricultural issues. The second phase provided opportunity for participants to offer possible solutions to the problems identified.
The key objectives of the event was to understand the importance of ICT on agricultural practice of small scale farmers- who produce over 80% of food consumed in the country - and to also challenge young people who are vibrant, energetic in their initiative to stand up to the call of changing the agricultural sector through the use of ICT and modern technologies.
Challenges in the Agricultural Sector
Challenges identified in the agricultural sector which ranges from intensive farming, poor capacity, food wastage, market access, transportation, price instability, lack of uniform measure, finance, climate change, government policy and access to technology. These issues have contributed greatly to disincentive for farmers and youth, increased hunger and poverty. Another issue of concern at the social media week event was Youth inclusiveness and youth participation in the agricultural sector. The use of ICT and trendy technologies in particularly for the rural farmers is a major requirement.
The word ICT was mentioned severally as one of the best ways to make agriculture attractive to young people. The Representatives of YPARD-Nigeria were present to give voice to the youth to join the global movement of young people in agricultural development by signing up on the YPARD website and ensure they are not left behind , even as the train of GCARD3 youth delegation and Young Agripenuer Project (YAP) are on the roll.
The social media event obviously impacted on the youths,and if young people will give priority to agriculture using ICT-based agricultural development approach, their skills will be enhanced, knowledge will increase and knowledge -transfer to smallholder farmers will be made possible. More so, capacity of the women in the value chain will be enhanced and it will lead to sustainable growth in agriculture.