Category Archives: ENVIRONMENT

Youths,the Workforce Behind Agriculture

Since most agricultural projects are effectuated in rural areas,it needs the man power to keep its daily activities.But with the migration of the workforce to urban areas the level of agricultural advancement tends to decrease.
Most of the migrants are youths and this practise of Rural-urban migration usually leads to a loss of necessary man power in the rural areas to work on the farm lands.On the other hand, increased man power in urban centres provides cheap labour to the industries in these areas.

Whereas this labour could have been used in rural areas to fooster agriculture.
This migration also brings chanhges to the state of farms;larger and fewer farms, additional farming practices have changed, larger equipment hence removal of fencerows and wind breaks to allow larger equipment, leading to wind blow soil.

In this situation,governments of ACP countries should understand that without the youths,no matter the technological advancements,agriculture still needs tem.There should be the creation of opportunities for these youths to remain in the villages and man their farms.

In this light,farming tools have to be provided,seeds,manure,animal feeds and even serminars need to be organised by the government or groups to encourage agriculture.

If these are put into consideration rural-urban migration will be something of the past.And youths will be retained in the rural areas,will be able to be masters of their own destiny because agriculture is the backborn of any country, especially developing countries.

Role of Social Media in Promotion of Agriculture

When one hear the name social media in agriculture,one would be asking what is its place but the truth is that social media including facebook,twitter,skype,Badoo etc play a vital role in the foostering the development of agriculture.Youths in ACP countries have to know the way the public learns about agriculture and forms opinions about food production.

Garrett Hawkins, of Farm Bureau says “Agriculture is becoming more diverse as a population and we are becoming further removed from the farm,” . “It is important that agriculturists explore different communication options.”

Samantha Gibson in 2013 writes that Most Americans are at least three generations removed from the farm, meaning it has been three generations or more since they have lived on a farm, and the average age of the American farmer is 55.
I have the believe that agriculture groups in ACP countries could also embrace this social media style to ameliorate their various sectors.

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Agricultural industries are enhancing their development within social media and expanding their businesses to reach the general public. Industries are starting to hire social media specialist who monitor the social media business
The most beneficial thing about social media is that you get to have a conversation with people about agriculture.Social media is instant, quick and allows you to have a relationship with consumers,this is recommendable for ACP countries.

Use of social media generates a new audience. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube allow farmers to tell their stories in their own words . The masses of people who use Facebook and Twitter create new ways to share with otherwise uniformed people. According to Statisticsbrain.com, there are more than 1.2 billion people who use Facebook worldwide. Farmers can share what is important to them and what changes they wish to see in the agriculture industry.

Summarily Social media helps agriculture in the following

Social media captures widespread users. Interesting stories trending on Twitter or Facebook are more likely to be read than buried deep in a newspaper.

It allows the agricultural industries to know what people are talking about.

All outlets of social media are available at the tip of your fingers; all you need is Internet access. These outlets allow people to participate in conversations and gather intelligent thoughts and insights. Technology has greatly impacted agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are taking advantage of genetic advancements in livestock, biotechnology in seeds, alternative fuel sources and GPS technology. Farmers can use social media outlets to educate the public on their increased use of technology.

These social media outlets also provide a platform for those who do not approve of modern agriculture practices. Sometimes referred to as anti agriculture activists, their online presence increases the need for farmers to take advantage of social media tools to combat the statements of anti agriculture activists.

By Hanson NFOR N

Information Is Power,Agriculture Is Life

There is a common saying that information is power,indeed the provision of information between young framers group can go a long way to promote the development and growth of agriculture and their respective areas.
Since agriculture is considered as backbone of every society it but paramount that any association already engaged in agriculture have to share information on certain issues affecting or promoting the sector in his or her locality;

For example one group will be save from venturing into producing a certain product because another had told them that the seed or what so ever it is has an epidermic or that the business is now slow.

Global Forum on Agricultural Research opines that Every community and country needs increased agricultural productivity from their farms, and just returns for their farmers and producers. They need to reduce hunger and malnutrition, alleviate extreme poverty and use natural resources such as land and water and energy more efficiently and sustainably.
Climate change affects their agriculture now and will affect more in the future and they need to adapt their agriculture rapidly to it as also contribute, as responsible world citizens, to mitigating and reducing climate change and its effects. Desertification, trans-boundary diseases, loss of agro-biodiversity and equitable participating in global agricultural markets are also universal problems. And all need research and innovation to be solved. Data and information sharing for agricultural research for development therefore enables, among many benefits:
New information and knowledge to be generated.

Localize globally available information and knowledge and enable it to be used more effectively

Increase efficiency and effectiveness of research and its outputs and

Innovation in time, cost, quality and human effort.

Reduce reinvention and repetition of research efforts

Allow greater inclusiveness and participation in research and innovation

Bring cross-disciplinary and specialized skills to agricultural research

Reduce “market failure” or inability to use research outputs effectively and/or efficient.
Create new research directions and avenues.

Bring greater equity in using agricultural knowledge across and among communities.

This will be more helpful if fully practiced by ACp Countries,especially as some countries among them are realy poor and technologically backward.Groups here will therefore need such information to improve on their farming styls,input,output,conservation etc.

Importance of ICT in Contemporary Agriculture

As the world becomes a global village due to the arrival of the Information communications technology, ICT, agriculture too has benefited enormously to the changes. It is of utmost importance for youth organizations to engage in the dissemination of information using the new media or ICT tools.
This is because the application of information and communications technology (ICT) in agriculture is increasingly important.

Experts hold that the main phases of the agriculture industry include crop cultivation,water management,fertilizer, harvesting,post-harvest handling, transport of food products packaging,food preservation,food processing,quality management,food storage and safety.

E- Agriculture
E-Agriculture is an emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (IT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture. E-Agriculture is a relatively new term.
The main focus of this article is to elaborate how the achievements of IT can be applied in Agriculture sector and its development.

The main applications of ICT in Agriculture sector are listed below.

• Record text, drawings, photographs, audio, video, process descriptions, and other information in digital formats,
• Produce exact duplicates of such information at significantly lower cost,
• Transfer information and knowledge rapidly over large distances through communications networks.
• Achieve greater interactivity in communicating, evaluating, producing and sharing useful information and knowledge.

There are many government, private and non-government organizations involved in agriculture sector and rural development. They all have to work together to give better service to farming community. Therefore, application of office automation is one of the solutions to enhance the efficiency and inter-connectivity of the employees work in all above mentioned organizations.

Many computer applications such as MS Officce, Internet Explorer and lots of others, are unlimited potential to organizations and individuals to fulfill their day to day data processing requirements to give an efficient service to their customers and youths involved in the sector will have to use this new technology to modernize their farming methods and facilitate their day-to-day activities.

In Summary ICT can help foster the growth of agriculture in the following ways

• SMS or text messaging campaigns for enabling environment advocacy
• Pricing and weather information systems
• Applications to help buyers manage transactions with the thousands of small-scale farmers who supply to them
• Mobile banking and apps that facilitate quick payments
• Initiatives to expand the reach of farm extension services through phone, radio, video and sometimes all three.

Challenges and Prospects of Youthful Agriculture ACP Countries

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

Youths looking forward for brighter future

Cocoa most expensive cash crop

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
them more.

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.

By
Nfor Hanson Nchanji