The webinar had speakers from CSAYN, CGIAR and FBSC who shared a wide array of insights regarding different interlinkages between ICTs, youth and agriculture. It began with a presentation by Catherine Mungai who presented the findings from an online according to which there is a negative perception of agriculture by many people that stems from social institutions, families and even education institutions. Until now, doing manual work on farms is still perceived by many as form of punishment.
In addition to the negative perceptions, the online study found that many young farmers and agri-tech innovators lack capacity inform of business management skills and peer mentorship opportunities. Young people also face challenges in accessing finance, which was attributed to their lack of access to land and finance.
The study also highlighted the potential of ICTs for the agricultural space, e.g. opening up linkages and connections between markets and farms by E-trade, creating opportunities for youth in agriculture to connect and engage with each other and offering a platform to maintain information on farm activities that could go a long way in promoting formalization of young agriprenuers businesses.
Mungai added that despite having a lot of potential benefits to the agricultural space, ICTs still face several challenges that limit their spread. These challenges include high costs of developing interventions, low access to internet connections in many rural areas and the low level of education often reflected in the prevalence of high illiteracy levels. There are also social-cultural factors with regard to language and cultural acceptance. She appealed to tech developers to have a gender lens in designing technologies as some of the technologies may not be gender-sensitive
Joan Kerr, FBSC founder, shared various experiences of her involvement in a six week competition where youth where introduced to growing first maturing plants in order to make them acquainted with agriculture along the entire value chain. She observed that the participants were attracted to using ICT solutions with regard to learning about market prices and weather forecasting. “Agriculture is not just about digging a hole,” she said, adding on further that ICTs create opportunities to enhance information along value chains.