Squeezed out of the white collar job markets in Africa’s growing cities, more youth across the continent are looking to agriculture as a viable employment alternative and are moving away from the usual cash crops in favor of faster maturing organic food crops.
According to the ‘2015 African Agriculture Status Report’ produced by the Alliance for a Green Revolution (Agra), outdated land-tenure systems and lack of access to finance has deterred new entrants to farming in Africa.
The Agra report warned that the continent will not solve its chronic food shortages or worrying unemployment levels among its youth without wholesale changes.
And it looks like more youth on the continent are heading this call and are embracing farming as their first choice job.
According to a CCTV Africa report, more youth in Kenya are turning to agriculture, particularly organic farming, due to growing demand for free food produces by hotels and residents of the country’s fast growing urban population.
“I define myself as someone who is practicing organic agriculture. I’ve sat down and really reviewed my business plan so that I can work for profit,” Anthony Munene, an organic vegetable farmers on the outskirts of Nairobi, told CCTV Africa.
For many years, poor financial returns and unglamorous prospects of Africa’s small-scale farming spurred many young people to leave the fields that their parent and grandparents had tilled for generations and migrate to urban areas.
But stiff competition for office jobs in the cities has made some of them to change their mind and go back to the rural area to try their hand on farming.
“I want to start my own farm, where I want to go and do vegetables,” Benson Maina, an agriculture major student at the University of Nairobi, told CCTV Africa.
“I will definitely go into farming directly,” Amweke Emmanuel, another agriculture student at the same university added.
The World Bank estimates that 25 million young people will enter the job market yearly in Africa by 2025. Agriculture, which already employs 60 percent of the continent’s population, is the only sector that able to absorb these young energetic youth.