Agriculture in sub-Sahara Africa has become synonymous with images of backbreaking farming activities using basic farm implements. The youth do not view agriculture as a profitable venture but rather a poor man’s job. However, agriculture or agribusiness has the potential to provide jobs for the growing youthful population and reduce poverty. According to a recent report by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation, Africa’s youthful population (projected to be the largest in the world by 2050), presents an opportunity to increase agricultural productivity. Moreover, an increase in agriculture-related activities both on farm and off farm could increase food production and cut down Africa’s food imports, which currently stand at $68 billion a year (ACET, 2017). While exporting surplus to the rest of the world. Thus, Africa is sitting on untapped potential, and agriculture as a business offers several pathways to youth employment. But how do we encourage the youth to take up opportunities in agribusiness?
Entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector presents many opportunities for increased productivity and reduction in unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. Some young Africans are cashing in on this opportunity, but there are challenges especially as regards scaling up their businesses. How can agripreneurship be promoted? What works and what does not in the agribusiness landscape? What are the policy imperatives?
To grapple with these issues, ACET in partnership with the Michigan State University, USA, and the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, organised the Young Innovators in Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Development (YIELD) training workshop from 14-15 February in Accra, Ghana.
The workshop highlighted youth agribusiness success stories. It also identified gaps and built the capacity of youth-led agri-entrepreneurs to scale up their operations for improved employability and entrepreneurship. The training also strengthened young people’s voices in policy discourse around youth employment and agri-entrepreneurship.
The workshop brought together young innovators in agribusiness, young agribusiness networks, researchers, government agencies and impact investors.
The YIELD project is designed to help young entrepreneurs access and maximize opportunities along the agribusiness value chains in two pilot countries in sub Saharan Africa – Ghana and Tanzania. YIELD will achieve this goal by generating and documenting new learning about success factors and challenges facing youth-led agri-enterprises in Africa, bringing together promising young entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and subsequently building their capacity to scale up their operations and serve as role models and catalysts for promoting entrepreneurship among other young Africans.