Give us a breather!

Innovation alone is not enough – youth need to be included in the equations. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT)

The message at the FARA-led “Africa side-event” held on the 28th October 2012 at GCARD2 was about Catalyzing Innovations and Entrepreneurship for Agricultural Research and Development”

Increasingly, organizations engaged in Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) are calling for greater focus on innovations and the innovations systems approach to increasing agricultural productivity, food security and economic growth. As the world focus is shifting towards innovations, so also it is focusing on entrepreneurship as a tool for promoting agricultural innovations. However, initiatives that have risen for global, regional and national discussions have hitherto failed to integrate the role of the youth as promoters of innovations and entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of FARA and Chairman of GFAR, Prof. Monty Jones, reiterated the need for stakeholders in ARD such as ASARECA, AFAAS, RUFORUM, PAFFO, NASRO, CCARDESA, CORAF/WECARD, RUFORUM, ANAFE, CTA, CGIAR and PANGOC amongst others to work together towards achieving the common goal of agricultural transformation by aligning their efforts to the AU-NEPAD’s CAADP framework. He also agreed that currently Africa faces the challenge of aging farmers and aging scientist in agriculture.

For the youth to be engaged in agriculture, incentives need to be created to ensure that they find agriculture a lucrative and sustainable livelihood. This demands a shift in mindset and will require conceited effort at the continental, sub-regional, national and local government levels.

As the GCARD2 plenary sessions commences, we hope that youth engagement in agriculture will take center stage.

Blogpost by Olawale Ojo, one of the GCARD2 social reporters.


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