Friday, July 1 2022

With one in five young people today from Africa, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore us.

In fact, many powerful people around the world now recognize the enormous potential of a constituency of 226 million people aged 15 to 24.

French President Macron recently chose to invite young Africans to his One Planet Summit rather than political leaders. And the African Development Bank has relied on young agro-entrepreneurs to successfully adapt to climate change and feed the young and growing continent.

Meanwhile, young Africans themselves seized the opportunity to create their own destiny by advancing the transformation of food systems ahead of a key UN summit this year.

The next generation recognizes that our future depends on the functioning of food systems, and at the same time, it is Africa’s youth who hold the power to provide them.

To begin with, young Africans are informed and educated, aware of the double threat to our prosperity of malnutrition and climate change.

We don’t farm like our parents and grandparents did, and we don’t eat like our ancestors did.

We know that a healthy diet is a diversified diet, leading young agricultural entrepreneurs like Esdras Azanmassou, 28, to devote part of his 26 hectares in Benin to different varieties of yellow and purple maize, which are very nutritious compared to white maize. widely consumed. by most African countries.

And we know the importance of animal proteins in the fight against undernutrition and its impact on cognitive and physical development.

A business run by young women off Lake Toho, Benin has developed the fish farming industry to help address the local animal protein deficiency, estimated at 11g per person per day, below 20g per day. recommended by FAO.

Faced with the scarcity of natural resources, young Africans are also increasingly innovative.

Take for example Thelma Sandurani, 26, a young farmer in Guruve, Mashonaland Central in Zimbabwe, where she uses plastic bags to grow vegetables.

By reusing the bags, Thelma prevents more plastic from polluting the waterways while contributing to the food security of her community.

And a young climate activist, Tabi, from indigenous communities between Cameroon and Nigeria, has adopted integrated, intensive, grazing-free livestock farming where little land, labor and costs are used for raise animals.

Likewise, in Malawi, Joseph, 27, a graduate of Bunda Agricultural College, uses intensive zero-grazing for his pig farm, motivating his entire community to follow the method.

The model is innovative because it reduces land degradation, and animal waste is directly used as organic fertilizer for growing cereals and avocados on the same land.

Finally, young people in Africa are tech savvy with massive social networks, which makes us a powerful industry to propel change.

We are harnessing this across the continent to unite behind the United Nations Food Systems Summit, an effort overseen by the Young African Leaders for the Food Systems Summit (AYLFSS).

The group is open, inclusive and committed to bringing together young people at all levels, sharing information and promoting collaborative actions that will transform today’s food systems.

To engage widely, this working group will lead regional youth-led dialogues, campaigns, advocacy, peer learning workshops and other practical initiatives and innovations that accelerate sustainable systems transformation. food in Africa.

Young people in Africa express a strong will and passion to actively contribute to the processes of delivering solutions that transform food systems ahead of and beyond the Summit.

The powerful recognize the strength of African youth, and African youth realize our power to change the world.

Putting our energy, creativity and innovation on the table will help ensure that everyone is fed.

Mike Nkhombo Khunga is the Global Youth Leader for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), Malawi, and Vice Chair of Action Track 5 of the United Nations Food Systems Summit: Building Resilience to Vulnerabilities, to shocks and stresses

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