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Africa has the largest population of young people in the world, with 226 million people aged between 15 to 24 years. Every year, young graduates from schools and colleges seek to enter the continent’s workforce, often with no success. What role can the agriculture play in addressing the unemployment challenge in Africa? According to a World Bank report on “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness”, Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods. National governments, however, need to work side-by-side with agribusinesses, to link farmers with consumers in an increasingly urbanized Africa.

To stimulate discussions on developing a framework for concrete youth engagement in agribusiness in a changing climate, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock, the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), AgriProFocus and ICCO Cooperation put together an online discussion and a webinar. The online discussion —which attracted 79 comments —ran for one month to commemorate World Youth Skills Day (15 July) and International Youth Day (12 August) and culminated in a webinar attended by 80 participants (30 August). A key message from the online discussion and the webinar is the need to address the negative perception towards agriculture.

In March 2016, six young entrepreneurs received exciting news. They had been selected from over 428 proposals posted on the GFAR blog as outstanding young people with innovative ideas, and would join the first group of the GFAR Young Agripreneurs Pilot Project (YAP).

The YAP project was developed by GFAR in response to a renewed focus on youth in agriculture and to address the lack of opportunities and access for youth in the agri-food sector. YAP was a platform for young agripreneurs to showcase the eagerness of youth to engage in agricultural projects and provide an online platform for youth to promote their innovative agricultural enterprises. More broadly, the YAP Project contributes to the mission and objectives of GFAR articulated in the 2014-2017 Medium Term Plan and delivers on the GCARD3 towards transforming and strengthening agricultural research for development around the world.

Technologu and agriculture

Strengthening resilience and food security for agricultural communities is necessary for transforming agriculture, wellness and development of people, especially the youth, in Africa.

Salient to me from the Ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and the 4th Agritec Africa International Exhibition in Kenya last week (14-16 June) was that droughts, floods, and rising temperatures are already cutting crop yields, threatening fish stocks and meat supply, and pushing people deeper into poverty.

Organised by Global Open Data and Nutrition, the meeting assembled critical players in the African agriculture sector such as ministers, farmers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, civil society, scientists and international development partners to discuss and develop concrete plans for achieving measures to reduce food crises in Africa.

SOME might perceive agriculture as a career that is unglamorous, labour-intensive, low-tech, and one that doesn’t guarantee much in terms of economic returns.

However, agriculture today has evolved from traditional, subsistence farming to a modern, knowledge-driven sector that has diversified into commercialisation through agriculture-based businesses.

Migration is part of human history; the current human geography of Africa can be traced back to movements made centuries ago. In Uganda, different ethnic groups, including the Bantu, Hamites, Nilotics and Nilo-hamites, all entered the country from different places in response to a variety of circumstances, including drought, infertile soils, and depleted livestock pastures.

The challenge for the farmers and pastoralists affected now, as well as for those anticipating climate change impacts, is how to adapt successfully in order to become more resilient and attain income- and food-secure livelihood activities.

Land concentration in the EU (Photo: CC0)

The European Parliament has called for urgent action to combat the concentration of agricultural land and to provide access to land for small and medium farmers. On April 27, it adopted a resolution and approved with a large majority an own-initiative report that recognizes the problem of land concentration in the EU and demands adequate responses. Land grabbing, the large-scale purchase of land for financial investment and industrial agricultural production, is no longer just a problem for developing countries. The report shows that not only in the former communist countries, but all over Europe, corporations are buying up large areas of land, often through legal loopholes. This has further increased the level of farmland concentration and tenure across the EU. Currently, only 3% of farms control more than 52% of arable land in Europe, whereas 76.2% of farms control only 11.2% of the agricultural land. The resolution underscores that this places inequality of land use in the EU – with a Gini coefficient of 0,82 – on a par with that of countries such as Brazil, Columbia and the Philippines, which are infamous for their notoriously unfair land distribution.

All is now set for the first agric reality show in Nigeria, with the unveiling of the 20 contestants to feature in the programme.

This show is being organized by the Corporate Farmers International Limited (CFIL) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in partnership with Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Does the idea of buying your own farm sound like a fairytale? Here, five ways to realize your dream of working in the dirt, no down payment required.

The National Young Farmers Coalition surveyed 1,300 of its members to identify the most significant barriers to a career in agriculture. Among the most common answers? Lack of affordable land. Real estate prices—at least near lucrative markets for sustainably farmed produce and meat—continue to rise, while farming remains a high-risk, low-pay pursuit. So newbies have started to get creative. These five smart solutions allow you to turn the agrarian fantasy into real life—without depleting your bank account.