Farming can reduce youth migration

Saturday September 8 2018


By Michael Ssali

Quite frequently we see job advertisements in the media for young people willing to go and work overseas. We have also heard about the mistreatment some of them experience at the hands of their foreign employers.

Many youth are actually smuggled out of Uganda in what has come to be known as human trafficking. Others have even died on the way trying to cross oceans on boats.

Some have sold land to raise money for air tickets and for bribing their way into countries of their destination.

These unfortunate developments can, however, be stemmed by setting up agricultural businesses in African countries, according to a recent Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) press release dated August 24, 2018.
It quoted FAO Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva, as saying: “Creating decent employment opportunities for youth in Africa’s agricultural sector can significantly reduce youth migration from the continent.”

Graziano made the statement at the Youth Employment in Agriculture Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda last month.

“We firmly believe that if you are provided these opportunities you will not leave the continent to look for employment elsewhere. We have the means to provide those opportunities right here where you can see and participate in the future of your countries and the continent,” he said.

Among the challenges conference participants highlighted, were factors of production such as land and limited access to credit facilities as some of the most significant barriers for young people wanting to start or expand agricultural enterprises.

The participants outlined their recommended actions for immediate focus as follows: youth-led policy action, capacity building, institutionalising the youth conference, reinforcing enabling and institutional environments, equipping rural areas with critical services essential for modern agriculture, agribusiness and value chain support, changing negative image of agriculture and supporting national youth platforms to share knowledge and best practices.

To make agriculture attractive to the youth governments in Africa will need to increase their national budgets allocation to the sector, to support research and science application in farming, agricultural education in schools, and value addition innovations among other strategies.

Farming ought to be seen as a means to wealth and opportunities.