REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, NAIROBI -- The UN has called on African governments to act urgently to change how business and wealth can be created in the agricultural value chain.
Richard Munang, Coordinator for Africa Regional Climate Change Program, said that the continent needs to revolutionarily overhaul agricultural policy and incorporate youths in the sector to be able to manage farming as a business as opposed to a social venture.
"The 65 percent of arable land is capable of improving food security as well as creating employment for the 60 percent unemployed youths once the policies are changed to suit youth's involvement in agriculture," Munang told a forum in Nairobi.
In Africa, most country's constitution do not allow youths and women access to title deeds hence denying them an opportunity to seek financial services from banking institutions.
He noted that the continent also need to strengthen knowledge management, through capacity building, reinforce economic incentives and also engage private sector in agriculture to help increase productivity.
Munnag told universities to change their curriculum and include vocational training to promote agricultural practice amongst college leavers.
He noted that 17 million youths can be employed yearly in the agricultural sector once proper marketing and lending institutions are engaged.
"The business opportunities presented by the changing climate especially to Africa could be enormous," Munang added.
He observed that urgent steps need to be taken to tap into this hidden fortune especially in the agricultural sector which employs more than 60 percent of the labor force in the continent with contribution of up to about 32 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Director of Institute of Development Studies at the University of Nairobi (UoN) Professor Winnie Mitulla called for a partnership between academia and private sector in disseminating research to the public.
"The current food insecurity requires that partnerships are promoted as way of reducing hunger and malnutrition in the continent," she added.
Participants at the meeting called for creation of linkages to enable farmers sell their produce easily within the continent as opposed to exports when the continent needs additional food.
They further observed that air transport within the continent need to be liberalized and abandon usage of visas to help promote intra-Africa trade.