EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko.

East African Community and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have reaffirmed their commitment in creating job opportunities for youth through in the agriculture sector.

Over a year, EAC and FAO have been implementing a catalytic project, which aims at reducing rural poverty and to boost economic growth through supporting the creation of better opportunities for youth in the agricultural sector.

Speaking at a workshop to validate and institutionalize agribusiness best practices in the EAC Partner States, EAC Deputy Secretary General for Productive and Social Sectors Christophe Bazivamo said youth in the region had the potential to boost productivity and strengthen economic growth.
“Engaging the youth in agriculture is increasingly seen as a potential solution to youth unemployment, food insecurity, rural poverty and distress migration, by unlocking the multi-layered prospects around farming, including processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, marketing and financial services,” he said

Mohamed Aw-Dahir, Senior Programme and Partnership Officer at FAO Sub regional Office for Eastern Africa said that investing in young people living in rural areas is key to enhancing agricultural productivity, boosting rural economies and ensuring food security.

“FAO and EAC are seeking innovative business models and appropriate technologies to engage the largely untapped reservoir of youth in agriculture to accelerate innovative ideas around youth-led and youth-focused entrepreneurship and employment,” said Aw-Dahir.

In the International Youth Conference that was held from 20 to 21 August 2018 in Rwandan capital Kigali, leaders urged the youth in Africa to reverse the often-negative perceptions associated with agriculture and take pride in being farmers. The Conference encouraged the youth to change the image and conversation around agriculture ‘think beyond farm jobs’ and explore employment opportunities across the agri-food chain.