How IT can attract young people to African agri sector

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) were identified as key areas with which young people could be attracted to agriculture.

How IT can attract young people to African agri sector

This emerged during panel discussions at the EU-Africa Business Forum 2017, recently held in Côte d’Ivoire. The theme of the forum was “Creating jobs for Africa’s youth.”

Speaking during a panel discussion, Ishmael Sunga, CEO of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), said ICTs could increase productivity and could make agriculture more effective and attractive to a new generation of farmers.

In an earlier post on the SACAU website, Sunga said agriculture was becoming more complex and dynamic, and required new skills and a new approach to farming: “It is no longer merely about growing a crop, but is more about focussing on strategic thinking and planning, to ensure the crop hits the market at the right time, and ensuring [that production is undertaken as] efficiently as possible”.

Various ways in which ICTs can help young farmers were highlighted. Ugandan entrepreneur, Gerald Otim, discussed a digital accounting service he developed that allows farmers to access information via their mobile phones.

The importance of real-time market and production information was also highlighted as means of placing producers in a better position to negotiate prices and plan production.

Panel members explained how the use of technology could enable farmers to improve production efficiency and reduce costs.

Examples cited included the Hello Tractor project that allows farmers to share tractors, as well as gathering production information with the help of aerial technology, such as that provided by Airinov.

Both LaVandez Jones, co-founder of Hello Tractor and Hamza Rkha Chaham, head of international strategy at Airinov, said they partnered with local entrepreneurs to tap into local networks and grow sales.