The African Development Bank (AfDB) said the active participation of the youth population in Africa is vital to increase agricultural production which would transform African food systems.
The AfDB noted that engaging youth in the agricultural sector is necessary to revitalize failing global agrifood systems, which also called for more investment in rural areas and actions to end hunger and poverty. malnutrition by 2030.
AfDB Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development Dr Beth Dunford said the remarks during the celebration of International Youth Day titled “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for human and planetary health ”.
Dunford added that Africa is producing a growing number of young entrepreneurs who are embracing new ideas to bring quality food more affordable from farm to fork.
She said: “Africa’s youth play a key role in increasing the continent’s agricultural production which can transform African food systems. On International Youth Day, we celebrate Africa’s next generation of ‘agri-entrepreneurs’, whose innovations in agribusiness are helping to feed Africa. “
The country’s representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ms. Uller Mueller, urged young people to engage in agriculture and stressed that they have the opportunity to “show the world that they are not only the future but the present. It is a unique opportunity to show what they bring to the table and they bring a lot to the table and it is their time and it is also an opportunity for them to make informed decisions on food choices because the food choices are really important.
Releaf CEO Mr. Ikenna Nzewi said his organization has an innovative approach that would improve food systems and help industrialize Africa by setting up smaller factories closer to farmers.
Ikenna said, “When logistics costs are really high, you have to pay farmers low prices for their produce. When you’re closer, you can afford to pay them more, ”Nzewi said.
The Releaf’s is a Nigerian smallholder food supply company focused on industrializing food processing in Africa, which won $ 20,000 in AfDB’s AgriPitch competition, where more than 600 top mainland agribusinesses competed for a share of $ 120,000 in seed funding prizes and a place in the competition’s business development boot camp. The finalists also benefit from coaching and training.
“The grant has been very helpful in operationalizing our work – we started our activities in January. Advertising has been helpful for our business. Being able to make more people hear… how we are technology manufacturers has been really exciting, ”said Nzewi.