Reasons how agriculture can be made cool for the youth

Events of the past year has changed the way we all think and with the lack of jobs we need to be creative. Youth want to work in jobs that are cool and trendy. Agriculture has too many bad connotations in South Africa of being a “farm worker”. We need to encourage them to see opportunities to be creative and be an entrepreneur in the agricultural and agroprocessing space.



Working as a team on the journey from the soil to the store is one of the most important aspects to make it understood that every member of the team is essential to the success of the final product.

Each member of the team in the value chain needs to be trained to add value to the end product. We have many tertiary youth who cannot find work in their industry but they have what it takes to apply themselves. Market Support Programme has all the tools to guide entrepreneurs along the journey to sustainable agricultural companies. There is nothing more than a sense of pride at seeing products in the pantry of the community or on the shelf of the local store.

“Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create” – David Karp, founder and CEO Tumblr.


There is no need to start big but rather to start with tools which include, marketing, branding and food safety to mention a few of the skills needed to be competitive in the market. There is a need to grow and produce for a need. Researching what is needed from buyers and consumers will help to decide what to grow or manufacture for the market.

Extending the shelf life of the harvest

It could be that a farmer growing cabbages has only a market for three quarters of the crop. The balance can be bottled into a long life product and sold into the community. Youth have a wealth of creative juices for solutions, these can be harnessed to create solutions through innovative actions. There are many innovations one is to have small mobile factories that work off solar and diesel can help to process produce to add shelf-life and value to the farmers produce. The farmer can be an agroprocessor and can sell these products to their local community increasing their income by adding value to their basic crops.

Conclusion

We need to encourage women and youth to research the needs in the market and what will grow in the area in which they live. Once this is established, they can be guided through development stages to add value to the produce to add life to the produce by processing it into a product that can be enjoyed for up to a year after it has been harvested. This will reduce post-harvest losses and increase the income to the farmers.

We have a pool of very capable young people who only need some skills and mentoring to establish a community of very sustainable farmers. Let’s make agriculture fun and exciting and attract the youth who have no jobs but have the ability.





Calls for beneficiaries, sponsors and buyers Are you a startup agribusiness? Are you a smallholder farmer? Do you need support to take your business to the next level? Contact Debbie Payne to share your story and apply at deborah.payne@agricouncil.org. The AAC and its sponsors will contribute directly to the development of 10 million agribusinesses in Africa over the next 10 years. Support our mission by sponsoring MSP beneficiaries. Contact Manuel Singano at manuel.singano@agricouncil.org. The AAC is working with local, regional and international buyers to understand their specific requirements regarding products, labelling, certifications etc, and use this information to guide our beneficiaries in their production processes and product development. Contact Debbie Payne at deborah.payne@agricouncil.org and join our Buyer’s Network. About the African Agri Council The African Agri Council (AAC) is a pan African institution that promotes the development of sustainable food and agriculture in Africa. We are a network of key stakeholders connected to Africa’s entire food and agriculture business value chain. We work with governments, investors and project owners and developers to accelerate investment into bankable agricultural projects, and bring together food and agriculture buyers and sellers and with a focus on attaining and improving access to regional and international markets. Our networking platforms bring together thousands of members, partners, government representatives, investors, consultants, technology providers, retailers, farmers, aggregators and traders to connect, share knowledge and together help grow Africa’s agricultural sector. For more information visit www.agricouncil.org. We run four annual events. These range in size from 400 to 950 participants. Our African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) held in Cape Town is now Africa's largest agribusiness and investment conference. The Investment Food Forum (IFF), Market Access Africa (MAA) and AFTI Summit have attracted a lot of interest from various stakeholders and partners. As a member, you will receive a discount off the registration fees of our events. Visit www.agricouncil.org/events to see our upcoming event dates and save the date for our member meetings www.agricouncil.org/aac-member-meetings. For more information get in touch with Cindy Euston-Brown via email cindy.eustonbrown@agricouncil.org or go to www.agricouncil.org.


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