In rural communities in developing countries, agriculture is often lauded as a solution to youth unemployment. However, young people shy away from farming for a variety of reasons, including a lack of access to land and capital in addition to unpredictable income, leaving the sector an ageing one with some areas having a mean age of farmers of 60 years.
Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) have been for a long time considered to provide an avenue to increase youth's participation in agriculture and make it a more profitable and sound career path. ICTS could make agriculture a more promising career path for millions of young people given their potential to increase market access, provide weather forecasts and link rural farmers to information networks and other farmers.
In the run-up to the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and to further explore the role of ICTs in youth-led agriculture and agribusiness, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, in partnership with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network, held a month-long online discussion on the Climate & Agriculture Network for Africa Platform. The online discussion had Participants responded to a range of questions, from technology as a tool to support youth-led agribusiness to discussing the barriers to ICT use. The use of ICTs to link young people to agriculture was a natural fit according to many contributors.
“Most people born since the mid-1990s have probably never known a world without smartphones," one participant remarked. Another continued this point, saying “youth tend to be tech-savvy and they can be involved in developing digital applications that can be used to enhance agriculture along with different points of the value chain."
While the online discussion is complete, CGIAR, CCAFS in partnership with the CSAYN,FBSC and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), will host a webinar on Wednesday, May 29 at 13:00 CEST. Topics drawn from the online discussions will include current trends in youth engagement with ICTs and a discussion about the opportunities and barriers that young people face in the agriculture sector and the role of technology going forward not done with the conversation. Join the discussion on May 29 for the webinar, "The Digital Revolution: Engaging Youth in Agriculture through ICTs" to further explore ICTs and their role in connecting young people to the agriculture sector.