We need finance, business-friendly environment to leverage agric opportunities, youths tell leaders
African youths have urged leaders in the continent to support them with finance and a business-friendly environment to enable them effectively and efficiently leverage opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The youths who spoke at a recent high-level dialogue themed ‘Feeding Africa: Leveraging Existing and Successful Innovations’ organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research -CGIAR, and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) expressed optimism that the continent can create jobs and drive growth through agriculture when value chain opportunities are fully tapped.
“The key solutions we need are Finance that benefits SME’s, streamlined to understand our constraints and financiers that understand the sector,” said Yewande Kazeem, chief executive officer, Wandieville Media while speaking on behalf of the youths during the high-level panel.
“Investment in research and development to support creativity and encourage innovative ways to process nutritious foods with our indigenous food products,” Kazeem said.
She added that investments in technology to scale and increase efficiency as well as providing a business-friendly environment will enable youths to create innovative solutions for smallholder farmers.
She says agriculture education needs to be revamped and taught as a business to encourage students to study agriculture but most importantly, to encourage entrepreneurship in schools.
She also called on leaders to close the gender gap in agriculture, saying young women must have access to land and move beyond the primary production of crop cultivation.
Similarly, she urged leaders to address insecurity across the Sahel, provide critical infrastructures and create more processing zones among others.
“The youths need support that can reduce the cost of doing business,” she said.
“Our youths are hardworking, creative, innovative, smart, and ready to work. We just need a business-friendly environment. We see the potential and opportunities that exist in the continent. We are ready to feed Africa and the rest of the world. The world is ready for Africa, the question is are we ready for the world?” she asked.
Kazeem challenged African leaders to ask …..what they can do for the youths to enable them to thrive and compete globally in our food ecosystems.
She mentioned how Wandieville weekly newsletter interview and featured agri-preneurs across the continent on their entrepreneurial journey, innovation, and products among others.
According to her, some of the entrepreneurs featured by Wandieville have gotten pre-seed, seed capital, and grants for their businesses.
She talked about her experience visiting and engaging with entrepreneurs, youths, across the continent.