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African youth unable to access agri-technologies amid financing gaps: report

Only 23 percent of African youth engaged in farming are using technology geared towards improving productivity

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | The majority of African youth have not been able to tap into technologies and innovations required to facilitate their plunge into agribusinesses, says a report that was launched on Thursday in Nairobi during the International Youth Day.

The report titled, “The Future of Africa’s Agriculture: An Assessment of the Role of Youth and Technology”, that was compiled by Heifer International, a global development charity said that tackling the technology access gap is key to incentivize the continent’s youth to take up farming as a full-time vocation.

Based on a survey of 30,000 youth in eleven African countries, the report says that eliminating technological, financing and capacity bottlenecks will ensure this demographic is part of agricultural transformation in the continent.

“The best way to engage youth in agriculture in Africa is through technological innovation,” says the report, adding that access to land and training will stimulate the growth of youth-owned agricultural enterprises in the continent.

According to the report, only 23 percent of African youth who are engaged in farming are using any form of technology geared towards improving productivity. However, the youth who were surveyed in the report said they were ready to engage in farming as a business subject to the availability of capital and digital tools that predict weather while improving market linkages.

The report says African youth have defied many hurdles to harness emerging technologies like drones, artificial intelligence, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) in their quest to transform farming systems.

Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice-president for Africa Programs at Heifer International said that access to digital tools will ensure the continent’s youth are an integral part of an agrarian revolution that promises food security and rural growth.

“Youth engagement in agriculture will be essential to recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, both to rejuvenate the continent’s agri-food systems and develop economic opportunities for young Africans,” said Ifedi.

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Xinhua

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