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Advancing the future of Agriculture in Africa -2

IITA Youth Agripreneurs, the future of Agriculture? 2

To promote ICT entrepreneurship in agriculture among the youth, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Youth Agripreneurs group runs an incubator programme, trainings, and establishes ICT entrepreneurial activities itself. The incubator programme equips startups to establish profitable businesses that solve agricultural problems using ICT.
An e-commerce platform has also been setup for the sale of agricultural produce for farmers, buyers and others along the value chain.

The impression one gets about IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) is that it has been very effective in using e-agriculture to attract youths to agriculture. Developments have been positive. Young people must take centre stage in farming not for just for transforming and growing the agriculture sector but for sustainable development in Africa. 

Youth unemployment is one the rise and in view of the terribly low proportion of young people in farming, IYA is a welcome development. The youth and ICT entrepreneurship is angle is quite forward looking. Essentially, this innovative group has shown that using efficient tech and the building of capacity, young people can run agriculture as a business.

Moving Forward
There is however a need to increase the local content in the technologies being adopted to ensure sustainability.

Regular monitoring and evaluation is also essential for such a program making such an impact in agribusiness. This is the only way to know if it is meeting expectations and also if it can meet future needs. For example is what is being done about scaling and replicating successful models? It is expected that performance is evaluated periodically.

It is also important that IYA goes beyond its traditional circles to engage with other stakeholders, especially in tech to widen coverage and deepen impact. Inclusion is critical. Engagement is required beyond the usual circles. Open mindedness and willingness to listen to different ideas are critical in this age.

The Digital: Tools Essential, But Culture matters
IYA has realized the importance of using social media and ICT tool to help in building groups of young professionals in agriculture. Already the group leverages such platforms to share relevant information. Monitoring of trending issues in the sector and greater capacity building are all critical. IYA is also advised to improve the level of awareness on its activities. It should be noted as well that the digital era demands that the use of these tools and infrastructure should go along with a culture of responsiveness and action.

For IYA, Young People are the Answer
There is no doubt that young people are change agents required to revive and grow the sector through modern technologies and innovations. The future of agriculture is the youth. IYA is an encouraging and commendable effort towards sustainable agriculture. It is not only a formidable platform of young AgriTech professionals, but can be a wind of change in the agricultural sector.

Jide Awe
Founder, Jidaw

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