FACTORS limiting youths to seeing agricultural sector as a business and career
Many young people and especially in Africa are interested in venturing into the business of agricultural sector and its related ventures but few are able to materialize their plans from the head to paper and into reality and development.
This is as a result of certain limitations in the development and growth of agriculture and its businesses. Some limitations to the realization of our business ideas too may come from the family, our immediate environment, government policies and how poor the agricultural sector is managed.
There is the need to empower the youth and women to take up the soil business and other products and services in the agricultural sector to ensure job creation for the teeming unemployed.
The following highlights the limitation to the seeing of the agricultural sector as a business and career to be taken by young people and possible solutions to the limiting factors.
Mentality about agriculture
When one hears or talk about agriculture the only thing that comes in mind is the job for the poor and the illiterates. From childhood the youth is taught to perceive farming as a dirty work and has no future.
Students in schools are threating punishment by weeding and so these young ones see agriculture as senior punishment and refuse to engage themselves in when searching for jobs after school or lifetime job searching or even studying agriculture at any level of education. Some parents used this mentality to scare their kids when they do not want to go school.
They will end up like you will become a “farmer” and live a poor life when you don’t go to school so that kid sees farming as a bad career to engage in.
Young people think agriculture and it related work will take them from civilization and make them hustle than enjoying life of their choice but this is not. Agriculture is the most lucrative business for the teeming unemployed youth when this mentality is wash out of their brains. There is the need for mass education to change the mindset of the youth and the general public about agriculture by referencing success of agriculture in other continents or countries.
Lack of funding
Funding or capital is an essential factor in ensuring the successes of every business including farming and it derivatives but sourcing of funds to establish agriculture venture is problematic. Financial institutions hardly provide financial assistance to young people who want to start farming business because these institutions want quick returns on their loans and hence give these funds to non-agricultural venture. Many financial institutions rejects agripreneurs request for loans. There is the need for the government to structure means to provide financial assistance to young people to engage in agriculture.
Most farming system takes a much longer time to achieve success and this discourage young people as it is not a quick means of making money as that is the syndrome of the youth of today. Young people engage themselves in politics, banking, law, police, military, teaching, health and other professional service they see as a quick way of making money than farming. This behaviour has killed many profitable ideas of the youth in the farm business. Strong education and campaign can help to change the mindset.
Any parents discourage their kids from taking up the business of farming because they see it as the poor venture. They encourage their kids to go to school and learn hard to become doctors, accountants, engineers, teachers, nurses, managers of reputable companies, politicians, bankers, journalist and other well paid and professional services.
No parent encourage their kids to become farmers or an agriculturalist and hence the poor status of agriculture in Africa. Change of mindset needed.
Conditions of engagement in agriculture
There are bad conditions of service in the agricultural sector and this discourage many young people in venturing in farming and its related business.
Unlike other professions there are incentive packages, pension schemes and compensations for certain disasters. Professions like doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, nurses, accountants and others are well serviced more than farming. All young people turn to be engaging in such professions than farming. There is the need for government and other corporate societies to provide support in these conditions for our gallant agricultural workers to inspire more people.
Bribery and Corruption
There are always the talk of many past and present governments with promises in revamping the agricultural sector by providing soft loans to the youth to venture in farming to sustain the agricultural sector to contribute significantly to the national economy but is that the case in the country.
For a young person interested in the farming venture to secure a loan to start-up the procedures are cumbersome and these discourage many young people. To secure this government loans from the designated institutions with a well vetted business plan one has to pay, gift or offer a stipulated service to gain access, be an affiliate of the government in power, have a link before accessing this facilities.
Some corrupt persons too divert this funding by government for their personal political, economic and social gains. This makes loans sourcing to venture in farming and related business cumbersome for the youths. Stringent measures are needed to remove all this obstacles to pave way for this lucrative business in agriculture to prosper.
Lack of inspiration and mentors
There are lack or shortage of successful individuals in the field of agriculture to serve as mentors to the teeming youth. There are few well established agriculture firms that the youth may learn from to rekindle their spirit for business in the agriculture sector. There is need for people to act as agriculture mentors and counselors to provide career guidance and advice the youths to venture in agriculture to contribute significantly to the nation building.
Lack of institutional backing
There are no research and financial backing to the development and growth of the agricultural sector. The few existing institutions lack funds to research and disseminate their improve findings to the development of agriculture. Strong backing from this institution would help in the development and growth of the agricultural sector in African countries.
Low government involvement in agriculture
“My priority is to revamp the agriculture sector” that has been neglected by the current or previous government has always been the talk of the political parties when they are on campaign platforms but they do not walk the talk when in power. It is a high time this talk must be walked to make agriculture attractive to the youths. Too much of the “we shall”, “we will” should be stop and make things move.
Changes in the climatic conditions
There is a drastic change in the climate of the country and its suitability for agriculture (farming) has changed also and there is the need to use modern technology form of farming like set-up of irrigation systems and provisions of farm machinery services to make it lucrative to the youth. Support in these terms will ginger the youth to reduce unemployment in the country.
In recent times, agriculture and its related businesses has been considered as a giant solution to the crashing economy of Africa as a continent. It is essentially declared as a panacea to the economic improvement of the individuals, families and the country. We must arise and defend the dignity of agriculture for our national growth and development.
We pledge our-self to the dignity of agriculture in Africa, so help us God.
EDITED: Columnist: Abass Iddrisu