Agriculture can stem African migration, unemployment – FAO
The Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, has said that harnessing the potentials of Agriculture can drastically reduce employment in Africa as well as migration from the continent.
In his remarks at a two-day international youth conference held in Rwanda recently, the FAO Director-General stressed the need to continue working closely with a wide range of actors to support the youths. According to him, the FAO firmly believes that if youths are provided with these opportunities, they will not leave the continent to look for opportunities elsewhere.
The conference seeks to foster an exchange among stakeholders, including policy makers, development partners, the private sector, youth and women organisations, civil society organisations, research and academia on knowledge and best practices regarding the interfaces between agriculture, youth employment, entrepreneurship, ICT innovations in agriculture and rural development.
In her opening remarks, Rwanda’s agriculture Minister Gerardine Mukeshimana recalled that agriculture remains pivotal to the continent’s economy and highlighted the need for mechanisms to make the profession more attractive to the youth, through harnessing digital solutions.
“In Africa, Agriculture accounts for 32% of the GDP and creates 65% of jobs; this means that developing the Continent economies requires developing the agriculture sector given that it occupies a larger share of African economies. Sustainable solutions for decent youth employment in agriculture must address intertwined issues of making agriculture attractive to youth while maximising financial returns. This could be achieved through harnessing opportunities from entrepreneurship and ICT solutions.” Minister Mukeshimana said.
Sharing Rwanda’s experience, Minister Mukeshimana highlighted different steps made in attracting youth to join agriculture including capacity building, organisation, land acquisition and financing.
Over Rwandan students, 625 students have benefited from practical training in Israel through a joint program between the two countries. These graduates have created cooperatives and work with farmers to increase productivity, the Minister said.
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