Africa has a unique population profile with 44 percent of its population under the age of 15 in 2006 making SSA the youngest region of the world. Today two out of three inhabitants of SSA are under 25 years of age.
SSA is home to over 200 million young people who are employed primarily in agriculture where they account for 65 percent of the total employment. It follows that young Africans are the key to African agriculture development yet many are unable to fulfil their potential because of poverty, hunger, poor health and lack of education.
Many may have witnessed parents and grandparents spend a lifetime surviving on a tiny income, perhaps as smallholder farmers, never having much to show for their effort. This observation and the perception that farming is old fashioned offering little opportunity for making money resulted in the young people leaving rural areas in the hope of better opportunities in towns and cities.
The majority of youth lack the proper skills though needed to gain employment in other formal sectors often fruitlessly migrating in search of economic opportunities.
Increased participation by youth in the agriculture value chain in the region is necessary and vital to facilitate food and nutrition security now and in the future.
For the 2011 Policy Dialogue, FANRPAN, re – affirmed that there are opportunities for youth engagement in the agriculture value chain and for the youth to fully engage in the agricultural value chain, they deserve support to take advantage of the opportunities opening up in the value chain.