Agriculture is the third-largest economic sector and provides jobs for 56 per cent of the workforce in the world. Since most governments have failed to provide employment to the growing youth population in most developing countries,many have turned to employ themselves especially in the domain of agriculture.
But most at times they lack the resources to embark on mechanized agriculture,hence subsistence agriculture is the order of the day.Some of the youths engage in animal farming which has proven to be one of the best in terms of end products.
In all, agriculture in rural as well as urban areas have its own challenges.Some of these challenges have been long standing and most youths have found it difficult to overcome them.
Youths looking forward for brighter future
Cocoa most expensive cash crop
CHALLENGES OF YOUTHFUL AGRICULTURE IN RURAL AND URBAN AREAS.
First and foremost,there is high illiteracy rate and poor skill levels are observed,particularly in rural youths.These youths do not have enough awareness of concepts and principles of sustainable agriculture.They lack knowledge on exportable markets.
Youths in rural areas have old farming tools that could hardly tilt the soil for a sizable cultivation of products.
There is also the ugly face of epidermic which has been killing numerous animals,this epidermic at times wipe out the entire breed of certain animals.
The level of poverty in some villages is also a factor for the poor output,youths lack money to buy pesticides,farm tools etc.
Because of the shrinking job opportunities in the rural areas and farming sector,farmers not only experience difficulties finding qualified and skilled agricultural laborers but they also have to pay
Aquastat, 2005 opines that improved and safe drinking water facilities are human needs however, these are only available to about 96% of rural population and 99% of the urban population with an average of 97% of the total population.
There is also the issue of Poor health, malnutrition, and high family growth rates which are quite common in rural areas.And these days only the youths are dying making the workforce who are predominantly old persons to stay helpless.
Similarly,maternal and child health are a continuing challenge.
Furthermore, health care facilities are not equally accessible to all particularly in rural areas. The rural areas have inadequate health information systems for monitoring communicable diseases and major health
risks. Lack of nurses, paramedics, skilled birth attendants and health system managers indicates an imbalance health workforce with excess doctors and specialists prevails in the rural areas.
Youths also face the problem of lack of a permanent mechanism of industry promoting agriculture in urban areas to help those in rural areas.
There is also the absence a new pattern that can integrate the economic and social development in urban and rural areas in ACP countries.
Growing resources and environmental restrictions have continued to dampened agricultural development.
Experts say Inadequate investment in infrastructure construction, limited job opportunities for farmers, outdated rural social administration and public services in rural areas are still impeding the development of agricultural and rural economy.
Our experts also recommend that reduction of arable land, lack of fresh water resources, inadequate support of finance and technology and aging water conservancy facilities restrict the stable development of agriculture.
STRIVES AND SUCCESSES
If we can eat meat,vegetable,cereals today, it is because of the untiring efforts of the youths.They are the backbone and the workforce in any country.In fact the youths have made a good strive towards attaining the goal of feeding the nation.
The youth is the breast basket of any society.
PROSPECTS OF AGRICULTURE IN ACP COUNTRIES
Former Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Jean Nkuete once said that
“Cameroon’s comparative advantages include high soil fertility, a low-cost workforce, diverse climatic regions, seaport infrastructure and a favourable fiscal regime for those investing in rural areas. Now we just need to add the strong political will to support agribusiness,” .With this declaration,it is clear that youths just need a political will to enjoy engaging in agriculture in their respective countries.Politicians need to think about the youths,they need to think about them in terms of given subvention to NGOs,to help them grow in their various endeavors.
The agriculture industry needs to be redynamised to improve on crop cultivation, water management, fertilizer application, fertilization, pest management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, transport of food products, packaging, food preservation, food processing/value addition, quality management, food safety, food storage, and food marketing.
An Increase the projects benefiting public welfare and biological environment in the most poverty-stricken counties.
An Increase in direct subsidies for cereal crops cultivation, purchasing of quality seeds, farm tools and other productive materials;
Formation of a pattern to increase agricultural efficiency and farmers’ incomes;
Vigorously ramp up oil production, encourage cotton and sugar production, guarantee staple food production including meat, poultry, eggs, milk and vegetables to ease short supply of agricultural products.
Reinforce agriculture standardization and guarantee safety of agricultural products, prop up agricultural industrialization, strengthen and improve controls on the agricultural market.
Prioritize water control in rural infrastructure construction, including supporting water conservancy projects on small farmland, encouraging water-saving irrigation, restoring crumbling reservoirs, intensifying farmland protection and soil amelioration, strengthening ecological rehabilitation and stepping up agricultural mechanization.
If all these conditions are taken into consideration then the nightmare of agriculture in ACP countries would be something of the past.
Nfor Hanson Nchanji