Youth under IITA-CARE tackle agricultural challenges
Despite the ongoing global crisis, grant recipients of the Enhancing Capacity to Apply Research Evidence (CARE) project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are working against odds and around the challenges to deliver cutting-edge agricultural solutions to achieve Africa’s goal of zero hunger.
With the supervision of scientists from CGIAR-IITA, these young people are working on ways to address various challenges along the agriculture value chains, from horticulture in Tanzania to livestock farming in Nigeria and across several other countries in Africa.
The IITA-CARE project, with a 3-year timeline, has strengthened the capacity of these young Africans to harness the opportunities inherent in agriculture while aligning their research solutions to policy making to help governments on the continent understand the importance of research in policy formulation.
As noted in a recent report published by the InterPress Service (IPS), these awardees are provided learning programs on research methodology, data management, scientific writing, and the production of research evidence for policymaking. The awardees carry out research in areas such as what it will take to involve youth in agriculture, a sector projected to be potentially worth $1 trillion in the next 10 years. With
an estimation that could surpass the present earning rate of crude oil, a lot of African economies are exploring agriculture as a means to strengthen their economies.
The IPS report said that some of the 80 young African scholars under the IITA-CARE project are giving agriculture in Africa a new twist as their research is also addressing youth involvement in the sector.
Esther Alleluyanatha, one of the awardees interviewed by IPS, is researching youth migration and remittances and the implications on rural livelihoods and agriculture productivity in Africa, while Adewale Ayoola, is exploring how lucrative the poultry business is for young Africans. According to Ayoola, the study will provide insight into how commercial agricultural programs are sustainable as well as provide direction into how commercial agriculture can be harnessed in the African context.
These young researchers are part of a group of young people across Africa creating the awareness required to give a youthful boost to the agriculture sector with its aging practitioners. In some places, the mean age of farmers has been recorded as 60 years.
According to Gilberthe Uwera, another awardee interviewed by IPS, “Through my findings I will be able to prove wrong the youth who see agriculture as the work for old and village people, and other people who still think that agriculture cannot improve incomes.”
While IITA is committed to transforming agriculture in Africa and fostering partnerships across the globe to address zero hunger, youth involvement in agriculture is part of the Institute’s goal under the leadership of Director General Nteranya Sanginga.
Under CARE, IITA is working with IFAD to build an understanding of poverty reduction, employment impact, and factors influencing youth engagement in agribusiness, and rural farm and non-farm economies.