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Youth in agriculture policy in the pipeline
19 March 2013
Nomthandazo Nkambule


19 March, 2013 12:33:00
By Nomthandazo Nkambule

MINISTER of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Hlobisile Ndlovu says an agriculture focused youth policy is being formulated in Swaziland.
She said the ministry of agriculture together with the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and the Coordinating Assembly for Non Governmental Organisation (CANGO) were engaged in the formulation of the policy.

Ndlovu said the promulgation of such a policy was in line with the youth policy, adding that government was commended for the step as the policy was long overdue. She said the 'youth in agriculture' policy would go a long way towards addressing the specific and peculiar needs of the critical segment of the population, the youth.

"We envisage that the policy will make a provision for affirmative action in agriculture that will ensure a commitment of at least 30% of resources towards the ministry of agriculture to target the youth. The ministry is also advocating for the establishment of a compensation fund for youth industries or businesses that may be affected by climate change.

"This raises the issue of the importance of imparting knowledge on the threat posed by environmental degradation to their livelihood.
"It is unfortunate that most of this population is done by our generation regrettably the consequences will be borne by the youth who are not directly involved or participating where these unfavourable decisions are made. It is for that reason that we believe in the need for a compensation fund if they are to succeed in the industry," she said.

Cornerstone

Ndlovu said agriculture was the cornerstone of the nation as it guaranteed a health and stable nation.

She said on the social sphere, agricultural industries provided wide ranging job opportunities to women thereby reduce their fertility. Ndlovu said empirical evidence had proven that women in employ tended to have less children than those without jobs, adding that economically, agricultural exports contributed significantly to the national gross domestic product (GDP).

She said in order to sustain the gains the nation was enjoying, there would be need to integrate more youth into agriculture. Ndlovu said government, through the ministry of agriculture, was intensifying efforts to ensure that the nation was well equipped with the necessary skills to manipulate the resources that were vested in agriculture. She said there had been a growing interest of youth to engage in agriculture.

"To date, the Youth Fund has funded 690 youth projects and out of this figure 422 are in the wide agricultural industry namely crops, livestock and agribusiness enterprises (those businesses that provide grading,packaging and marketing of the products sourced from the farmers).

"However, the youth have not been spared from the challenges faced by farmers in the country as well as the region as a whole. Government has noted the various challenges and is working around the clock to mitigate the negative effects they have on the produce for instance," she said.

http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=49500&print

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