Agriculture should now be great career choice by youths

WITH 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 (the youth bracket), Africa has the youngest population in the world.

The current trend indicates that this figure will double by 2045, according to the 2012 African Economic Outlook report prepared by experts from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the industrialized countries’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among others.

Low profitability, poor security of land tenancy, and high risks are just some of the motives Africa’s youth are leaving rural areas to seek livelihoods in capitals, an exodus that could see Africa with a shortage of farmers in the future.

Amid this glossy picture, what type of career do you desire to have in future? Do you want to be an artist, a business person, a footballer or a policymaker or politicians?

Or working for small or larger company hoping to set out your own business? Or, have you ever desired to become a agriculturalist? I would not be surprised if many young people said no.

Feel like you’re stuck in a hamster wheel spinning in discs? Maybe you have lost interest because many young people out there are without attired job? An environment that makes you doomed hence tough to define your next step into the world of work?

While you are fully aware of what is expected of you from family level to the national level, the thought of taking the next logical step in your career not only is challenging but it might bore you.

As young graduate full of energy and dreams are you ready for a change and transitioning into an entirely new professional focus that would make you feel right, but you aren’t sure how to make the leap?

Make bold decision to turn into farming. If you’re stern about making a major overhaul to your career plan, especially at times when going private gives you more reward, it’s time to formalize your thoughts and begin researching your interests.

Begin by determining specifically what you’d like to do next in your career and what changes you’ll need to make to reach your professional goal.

Before getting emotionally involved with making a career transition to other sectors apart from agriculture, define the root cause of your desire to change paths.

Are you truly unhappy with your current professional path dream? Are you being realistic about how making a career transition will impact your happiness in future?

Are you ready to start over professionally or are you merely trying to run from something else? At the end of the day, only you know what makes sense for you personally, professionally and financially.

Take time to consider your alternatives and define your goals correctly. If after doing some due diligence, you determine transitioning into a new field or industry is the right move for you, and then goes in eyes wide open, push hard and don’t look back.

Few years you will sit back and relax celebrating decision you take today as young person. I thought on how challenging is now to get well rewarding career.

When weighing career choices, many young people in the developing world and in Tanzania in particular tend to shy away from agriculture.

I, too, once found myself disillusioned by the small villages and coffee farms I grew up seeing every day. As the conventional belief goes, agriculture means an archaic lifestyle and a future with limited opportunities for youth.

The World Bank has estimated that Africa as whole has more than 50% of the world’s fertile and unused land and agriculture accounts for the 25% of the continent’s GDP. A development in the agricultural sector would lead to a sustained economic growth in the whole continent and every country would benefit from it.

In Tanzania, agriculture is the most significant economic sector employing more than half of the population. Checking on social media, newspapers etc., you could see a section dedicated to job vacancies and other job opportunities, but the unemployment rate is still very high.

Even though the economy in Tanzania, like in the rest of the continent, has been growing sustainably in the last years heightened by good macroeconomic policies, fighting poverty and decreasing the youth unemployment rate is still a big issue for this country that could be solved simply investing more into agriculture, adding more value to this sector and making it more appealing to young people.

In fact, agriculture could really absorb millions of young people looking for a job and focusing on this sector could really help the country enhancing productivity, reducing food prices and its need for imported goods due to its endowment and its strategic comparative advantage. Earlier on,

I indicated that I once found myself disenchanted by the small villages and coffee and banana farms I grew up seeing every day. When I reflect back, I recognize I was wrong and should I have channelled my career into agriculture, today I would have been speaking a different dialectal economically.

Plenty of evidence shows us that agriculture provides youth a viable way to harvest success and grow a sustainable future when viewed commercially.

In other words, I believe youth and majority of young people can, and should, choose agriculture especially now. Why? First, agriculture matters to the future of development.

When it comes to fighting poverty, agriculture is more effective than other sectors. Agriculture is up to four times more effective than other sectors in decreasing poverty.

Increasingly, the world is counting on agriculture to produce more nutritious food for and improve the livelihoods of a booming population, especially the underprivileged.

What could be more meaningful than being part of a proven solution to such a critical challenge? Second, agriculture can be a gold mine for young entrepreneurs.

Meet fresh fruits and vegetables farmers from Arumeru Arusha or baby vegetable exporter from Iringa Tanzania. Through farming, architects have not only carved out a successful career of their own, but also helped local farmers reach global markets, and create jobs for other young people especially womenfolk.

So, the next time you hear prospects in agriculture being debated, think about how you can also start up a business in agriculture to help both yourself and the rural poor. Agriculture is not cool?

Think again. An experience drawn from Uganda, shows that a young team with the World Bank and UNICEF used a mobile and web-based app called U-Report to swiftly help 190,000 farmers save their bananas a staple food for Ugandans from a vicious disease.

Other nations such as Kenya and Rwanda are also eager to lift productivity through information and communication technologies and other creative solutions.

Scanning diverse of reports confirms that agriculture in the developing world is becoming a field vibrant with effective innovations, thanks to a growing number of young people minds that are making it happening.

Agricultural research needs young intelligence. If you are a young breed into development research, agriculture may be the right place for you.

Several stories from East Africa and other places have shown that research revolutionizes agriculture and transforms livelihoods.

Currently, more than before, climate change and a growing demand for nutritious food especially organic are for fresh ideas and improved knowledge to explore information and communication technology in agriculture, foster climate-smart agriculture and innovate in the sector to power future growth.

The trend of youth choosing agriculture is increasing. Approaches toward agriculture are already changing. For example evidence shows that in in Cameroon, agriculture is becoming more competitive.

Currently, young educated Cameroonians have decided to become farmers, acquire land, grow crops such as maize professionally for trade, and manage their enterprises in order to earn a living.

In other nations such as Armenia, Brazil, Malawi, and Senegal, these nations are investing in youth and agriculture with the support from the World Bank Group and other development organizations.

Conducive atmosphere that is making young people to speak up- why they selected agriculture as career. The trend is growing. Support for the agriculture sector is increasing.

The list of reasons is endless. I decided to share my thoughts and experiences on why you think youth should engage in agriculture, and how it can help reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity in our nation.

In order to do be successfully there is a need for youth in agriculture program a program that would help to motivate and empower young people to be an active part in the social and economic growth of our nation through agriculture as commercial business.

Under this program apart from facilitating food and nutrition security and sustainability in agriculture production, could help to change the preconception that agriculture is just for unskilled and uneducated people, making them aware that today it is a commercial activity that requires innovation and energy and that can create job opportunities in research, environment and also engineering.

Author: Dr Hilderbrand Shayo

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