News / Africa

Experts: Africa Needs More Farmers, Not Aid

Development experts want more young Africans to have a stake in African agriculture like this young man in the Central African Republic. VOA/Nico Colombant
Development experts want more young Africans to have a stake in African agriculture like this young man in the Central African Republic. VOA/Nico Colombant
Nico Colombant
African and U.S. development experts say Africa needs more successful farmers.  They say an effective agricultural sector, which is not aid-dependent, is crucial both for ensuring food security as well as political stability. A two-day conference on the topic was recently held in Washington.

With Africa's booming youth population facing daunting employment prospects, University of Ghana-Legon researcher Sam Asuming-Brempong told a crowd of development experts, lawmakers and government officials in Washington, African careers in agriculture need to be promoted.

"When the youth hear of farms they already get scared. We went to a village in Ghana to survey tomato farmers and there was this one man who had made a good return on tomatoes that season. Then we said 'what next?' He said, 'I am going to look for a job in the city.' 'What about the tomato business you are doing? Is it not a job?' we asked. He said, 'no, no, farming is not a job.' We need to do something that will change the mindset of our people," said Asuming-Brempong.

Participants stressed the importance of including farming in school curriculum from the earliest age possible.

Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, who now runs a foundation which bears his name, said it was also important to train future farmers in business practices.

"Training people not only to cultivate the land, to bring more productivity, but how to establish a business. That is why we used the title 'Agriculture is Business'. This is my view since the beginning, how to convert this agriculture into really a business," said Chissano.

The lead organizer of the two-day forum was the U.S.-based Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa. Its aim is to promote sustainable, Africa-led, agriculture-based economic activity in Africa.

Agribusiness specialist Flynn Bucy, with the U.S.-based company Innovare, said foreign governments and aid organizations trying to help with outside money, food and other assistance sometimes get in the way of these goals.

"They can be very disrupting. To give people stuff that will not let them now buy it, to distort prices, there are a lot of people who are trying to help, but part of the result of that is that it makes it very difficult for financial people to come in and make sense of it because it is not being driven by financial logic," said Bucy.

Other challenges which were talked about included soil depletion, water scarcity, massive subsidies for European and U.S. agricultural exporters and foreign governments buying up huge tracts of African land for their own needs.

Participants said the stakes were very high, ranging from ensuring nutrition security to avoiding both repeated famines and urban riots over soaring food prices.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid