Chinwe Ogbonna is a Development Economist with a BSc. EduEcons. from Abia State University Uturu Nigeria, MSc. DevEcons. from Ghent University Belgium, and...view profile
The need for the existence of the Department of Agriculture and Food Technology (AFT) in ACP DYSS sprung out of her zeal to contribute towards sustainable development of ACP countries through promotion of self-dependence/reliance on African effort by working together with ACP diaspora youth towards sustainable agriculture. Agricultural systems in ACP countries must become productive. ACP DYSS aims to promote Africanism by building the capacity of ACP diaspora youth in Europe and grassroot through their involvement in sustainable agricultural practices. Therefore, sustainable agricultural practices and food systems which include both production and consumption must be pursued from a holistic and integrated perspective.
This department aims at carrying out agricultural projects in ACP countries which will involve working together with ACP youth (both at home and in diaspora) on sustainable agricultural practices in ACP home countries. These projects will be carried out with full involvement/interaction of the youth who are willing to participate by learning /enhancing their agricultural skills towards food production and preservation. This is to enable ACP diaspora youth to discover more about agriculture as a profession and to encourage more people to perceive farming as a career after school. This approach will also offer the young people a chance to make a difference by growing enough food for consumption.
Currently we are living in an era of rapid urbanization which has led to the decline in rural population. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city by 2030 and by 2050, this proposition will increase to 7 out of 10 people. This means that more young people will move to the cities and towns to find work, leaving few behind to work in rural areas. Engaging youth in agriculture has become important and a topic of discussion, as there is a growing concern worldwide that young people have become disenchanted with agriculture. Agriculture in no doubt is now recognised as a huge economic pillar that contributes heavily to a country’s GDP. The nexus between agricultural development and the country’s ability to achieve its food security goals are inextricably linked.
Why the Youth? Embedded in the definition of youth is energy, curiosity, innovation, self-discovery, desire to explore and change the world. As a result, agricultural sectors in the world need to see the youth not as a group but as partners for development to capture their interest and involvement. Agriculture is important for any nation’s development. This development includes working together and encouraging the full participation of the youth in the agricultural sector. The youth are more likely to adopt new technologies needed for sustainable increase in agricultural production than the ageing old smallholder farmers. The use and adoption of new technologies in agriculture seeks to change the negative perception of youth in actively participating in agriculture, as farming is seen as physical labour with extremely low economic return, job for low class, illiterate and ageing. Therefore, it is important that the youth relates to farming, with young people living in the developing countries where agriculture is likely to provide the main source of income and livelihood.
- Promote self-realization through re-education and re-orientation of ACP diaspora youth on the benefits of farming (increased food crops and livestock production and access, increased income, standard of living and food security).
- Facilitate the ACP diaspora youth access to various agricultural resources such as manure processing, modern farming tools, fertilizer and pesticides, irrigation systems through-out the year, crop diversity and Agric-extension services for productive self-employment.
- Working together with ACP diaspora youth to enhance sufficient farming techniques for Agribusiness, broaden the understanding and perception of farming as a commercially viable venture through re-education and training on planting, harvesting, storage, etc.
- Facilitate ACP diaspora youth access to the market by working together with the ACP countries regional authorities to connect farmers to the market by eliminating middle men, enhancing information flow between the farmers and buyers (through contract farming models where farmers and buyers enter into forward agreement for agricultural production), provision of moving vehicles and construction of good roads.
To achieve the stated objectives, ACP DYSS seeks and is open to funded projects, financial support, partnership, collaboration to enable her achieve her objective of promoting self- dependence/reliance on African effort through equipping and empowering the youth towards achieving sustainable development.
Key Project areas:
- Agricultural productivity and food security in ACP group of countries.
- Food supply and accessibility: development of agricultural value chains, technological innovations, employment of youth and women from the ACP regions in agriculture.
- Improvement and management of agricultural infrastructure in ACP regions: irrigation schemes, farm-to-market roads, and storage and processing facilities.
- Crop distribution and marketing systems: ensuring ACP youth access to certified seeds and quality fertilizer and pesticides.