Dr. Mukeshimana pushes for youth participation in Agric to end hunger and unemployment
Written by: George Kalisa
Saturday, September 1st, 2018, 12:29
Rwanda’s Agriculture and Animal Resources Minister, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana said that to eradicate poverty African governments and stakeholders need to boost youth engagement and interest in agriculture through “facilitation of preferential entry points and encouraging the youth participation in gainful and attractive agribusiness opportunities”
Minister Mukeshimana had represented President Paul Kagame at the opening ceremony of the recently concluded Youth Employment in Agriculture conference held on August20-21 in the capital Kigali. It was themed: “Youths in Agriculture as a solid solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa: Engaging through ICT and entrepreneurship”
Mukeshimana highlighted the expectations of the concluded agriculture conference as fostering exchange of experiences to explore the interfaces between agriculture, youth employment entrepreneurship and ICT innovations.
“Our pressing responsibility today is to support and facilitate entry points and participation of youths in gainful and attractive agribusiness opportunities,” observed Hon, Mukeshimana
“The event aims to fostering exchange amongst stakeholders on knowledge and best practices regarding the interfaces between agriculture, youth employment entrepreneurship and ICT innovations,” she added.
She said eradicating poverty through youth employment creation in agriculture is “an integral part of the agenda of wealth creation and shared prosperity in Africa consistent with African Union Agenda 2063 and sustainable development goals”.
She said the conference was a demonstration of political will across the continent and beyond to “place great importance in agriculture as an avenue to providing youth employment. Mukeshimana said one of the main challenges in agriculture is many youths still “find it as unattractive form of employment”, which is why they “don’t venture into the sector”.
Hence, she called on the 473 delegates mostly youth from 44 countries to consider addressing the intertwine issues of making agriculture attractive to the youth alongside maximizing the financial returns as part of the efforts to come up with “sustainable solutions for decent youth employment in agriculture”.
She said that leveraging harnessing opportunities in entrepreneurship and ICT solutions were priory strategies.
Mukeshimana said Rwanda had already invested hugely in this direction.
“(…) the recently launched strategic plan for agriculture transformation, now in its fourth phase, basically intends to promote skills development, incentives for agriculture entrepreneurship in youths.
Latest research finding show that growth in agriculture is about two or three times more effective at reducing poverty than any equivalent amount of growth in other sectors. More than a half of arable land is in Africa. Yet, about 70 per cent of African citizens live miserable lives.
Findings of the most recent World Employment Social Outlooks indicate that 7.9 Per cent is in Africa this year.
But, not all hope is lost the World Bank Agriculture and Logistics sector have fresh commitment to mobilize about a trillion dollars by 2030. Therefore, Mukeshimana said there that there was urgency to empower youths to take active part in order to benefit from such opportunities.