Wednesday, 16 November 2016

AGRICULTURE FOR YOUTHS, WHO CARES?




I remember when my grandpa told me how they used to go hunting, how they grew and collected fresh healthy foods without buying them. When meat, vegetables and fruits were scarce, they were still able to collect “survival foods” of roots, seeds, tree bark and small animals. That was then, and I wish I can turn the hands of times.

Naturally, Africa is conditioned for farming given its rich vegetation and soil. Africans are more energetic to manually cultivate lands for harvest right from the days of slavery in tobacco farms in America till tomorrow. But this energy has not been taken advantage of and we remain primitive. One would have presumed that things should be done differently by this time of age: for Africa to be able to feed Africa by itself. But is that a reality? It's still a long walk.

THE MIX
If there’s one good thing we have lost that you will see, it is the tradition of raising youthful farmers in Africa. Another is the tradition of eating healthy foods for lasting living. All that is gone out of our laziness. From the way things are, we’ll all go hungry tomorrow if we still don't really care about food security.

I ask again,  why are farm lands becoming scarce, why are soil not yielding bountifully any longer,  water is never available and streams are drying up,? seedlings are just too expensive to afford, food produce are affected by all newest kind of diseases, our climate is changing, more people are faced with difficult access or with no storage facilities, and youths are migrating to cities etc and etc? Imagine if there are no solutions to this questions what that means?  To my mind, these could be one or some of the reasons why agriculture is fading off in Africa speedily if I have to put lens into it. Is like we farm to feed and then feed to farm. This is the cycle we hace found ourselves year in, year out. Should we continue this way?

In reality, farming is becoming more and more unattractive to young people as I see. Farming age is rapidly overstretched with no transition to younger generation. Take a view when no African child grows up aspiring to be a farmer like pilots and doctors, and other professional careers. That’s bad news to many but is real. Few ones that would have aspired for career in farming have been rebuked by their parents and they have lost interest. Today, parents no longer wish their children to be farmers, as farmers as seen as laborers and failures in our societies by the societies. Children grow up, viewing farming as huge problem and suffering. They see it as poor and rural, a trade only meant for illiterates and  "old school"-  who made nothing out of it. It is farming that actually have greater image problem than the youths itself, yet our Government pretend there’s none and I wonder why farming has not been rebranded if that would be?
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PICTURE THAT ONE AND SEE
All over Africa, Government is working hard to open agriculture up and attract teeming number of unemployed youths, and this has continued to fail. There are no clear farming policies by Government especially to small holder farmers, for instance- what policies are there that promotes the use of land for family farms? What protection is there against farmland pollution?  What of credit availability to small holder farmers? How is Government helping them solve problems? Why do they support big farms that produce only for export while we die of hunger? There are questions you may find it difficult to answer me of course .  
When Government can not offer subsidies as a way to improve food security? What do they mean? When Government loans and support is misused by giving it to corporation or rich associate (farmers) that owns large industrial farms, what do they mean? When we set Agriculture as options meant for the old and retirees, what picture are we painting to youths? When collateral for loans are made too difficult for small holder farmers to meet? Tell me, how would farming then be attractive to youths?If I think about it, it bothers my mind.

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THE WAY FORWARD- hope rising
With or without Government support, there are many ways you and I can improve local food security. From planting a small garden in our backyards, to raring domestic animals for our use and for commercial purposes, there lies our hope for food security if they don't really care. In this economic drought and circumstance not to buy all the foods you eat, but to augment them.  A small garden by your backyard can help you lot : in saving cost and keeping you healthy like in the days of our grandpas to eat healthy living fresh food. Let's eat to stay alive, agriculture is life.    
Image result for picture of youths farmers