Youth in Africa urged to embrace agritech to combat food shortage

Youth who are daring to find a technological solution to Africa’s agricultural problems stand a chance to have a slice of the continent’s rich food industry estimated to reach $1 trillion by the year 2030, this according a recent report by the African Youth Agripreneurs Forum

Although 60 per cent of the world’s arable land is in Africa, the continent only uses about 20 per cent of it, an aspect blamed on low uptake of technology and mechanization by farmers.

Although the United States of America commands 10 per cent of the global arable land estimated to be 15.75 million square kilometers, 16 countries from Africa features in the global top 50 countries with massive arable land

Nigeria is leading the continent at position nine globally with 300,736 square kilometers representing 1.9 per cent of the total arable land in the world. Kenya is at position 44 in the world with 45,597 square kilometers, representing 0.29 per cent of the global arable land.

Even so, the less land under cultivation is used extremely inefficiently, owing to very low production estimated to be below 25 per cent by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

In a recent forum held in Nigeria, participants unanimously agreed that mass scale adoption of mechanization and ICT in farming is the only silver bullet likely to accelerate wealth creation and cushion the continent from perennial food shortages.

Edson Mpyisi, an Agricultural economist regretted that despite Africa having the highest educated youthful population in the world, almost 90 percent of the continent’s agriculture is still reliant on rainfall and manual farming practices.

It is no wander that country like Israel which has only 23.8 per cent of agricultural land has managed to convert 13.7 per cent of it into arable land through mechanization and technology, increasing food production

Kenya which has 48.1 per cent of agricultural land is over relying on its 9.8 per cent arable land for food production, instead of reclaiming more land for agricultural purposes.

He explained that the youth population growth could be the continent’s demographic dividend or curse depending on how their energy is put to use, adding that agribusiness is a powerful tool to empower young people and guarantee the continent of food security.

Participants at the forum were urged to explore innovative fundraising options, including the unpopular zero-capital model that rides on creativity, partnerships and associations.

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