UAC GREEN INITIATIVE
In Cameroon over seventy percent of the population is aged between 15 and 24. This age group is expected to double in the next few years. Low profitability, poor security of land tenure, and high risks are just some of the reasons Cameroon’s youth are leaving rural areas to seek jobs in towns/cities, a migration that could see Cameroon with a shortage of farmers in the future. Given that agriculture is one of the country’s biggest economic sectors, generating broad economic development and providing much of the population with food, this poses a serious threat to the future of farming and to meeting the demands of a rapidly growing urban population. Growing youth unemployment, ageing farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming systems mean engaging youth in agriculture through UAC GREEN INITIATIVE should be a priority.
United Action for Children through UAC Green Initiative intends to do the following, –Improve Agriculture’s Image,
Farming is rarely portrayed in the media as a young person’s game and can be seen as outdated, unprofitable and hard work. Greater awareness of the benefits of agriculture as a career needs to be built amongst young people, in particular opportunities for greater market engagement, innovation and farming as a business. The media, ICT and social media can all be used to help better agriculture’s image across a broad audience and allow for sharing of information and experiences between young people and young farmers-portraying role models.
-Link Social Media to Agriculture
The rise of social media and its attraction among young people with access to the appropriate technologies could be a route into agriculture if the two could be linked in some way. Mobile phone use in Cameroon is growing rapidly and people are now much more connected to sources of information and each other. Utilizing these channels to promote agriculture and educate young people could go a long way to motivate and in engaging new groups of people into the sector.
-Include the Teaching of Agriculture in Schools
In Cameroon, agriculture is not taught in schools. Most schools exist without even a school farm nor garden. At the level of higher education, relatively few students choose to study agriculture, perhaps in part because the quality of agricultural training is mixed. Besides entry to do agriculture is through competitive exams thus limiting the no of students wanting to do agriculture taught materials need to be linked to advances in technology, facilitate innovation and have greater relevance to a diverse and evolving agricultural sector, with a focus on agribusiness and entrepreneurship. Beyond technical skills, building capacity for management, decision-making, communication and leadership should also be central to higher education. Reforms to agricultural tertiary education should be designed for young people and as such the process requires their direct engagement.
Through UAC Green Initiative, United Action for Children intends to introduce the teaching of agriculture in schools with much emphasis on organic agriculture through school gardening and farming programmes. This could help young people see agriculture as a potential career.
Empower Young People to Speak Out
If young people are enabled to transform agriculture then the barriers to their engagement, such as access to land and finance, need to be addressed. National policies on farming and food security need to identify and address issues facing young people. As such youth need to become part of policy discussions at the local and national levels, whether as part of local development meetings, advisory groups or on boards or committees. Through the Green Initiative, United Action for Children shall advocate for the inclusion of youths in decision making process.
-Facilitate Access to Land and Credit facilities by Youth,
Land is often scarce and difficult to access for young people, and without collateral getting credit to buy land is nigh on impossible. Innovative financing for agriculture and small businesses is needed. For example soft loans provided to youth who come up with innovative proposals in agriculture or micro franchising.
-Make Agriculture More Profitable
If youth find agriculture profitable, they will become interested in it. With the Central position of Cameroon- neighbor to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Chad, Central African Republic and Nigeria, encouraging youth into agriculture could be very beneficial since most of these countries are market outlets. Making agriculture profitable requires that the costs of farming and doing business are reduced while at the same time productivity increases.
Foregoing engaging youth in agriculture and the potential for transformation this could bring because of the complexities of modernizing agriculture would be a huge opportunity lost.
There is urgent need for support to motivate youth into agriculture, We invite you to Join this great project, Together we would empower, build and prepare youths for a brighter future. Send us a message using our message box bellow