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Linking ICTs, Agriculture and Youth

From the global perspective, by 2050, the world will be an inhabitant of over 10Billion people with youth (aged 15-24) accounting for about 14% of this total meaning we will need to feed more 2.5billion people and increase our food production by 70% our food system is under pressure to produce more with less in a sustainable way which means there is an urgent need to embrace climate smart agriculture practices and technologies if we are to feed this ever bulging youthful population.

Globally, agriculture accounts for 32% of total employment. From the national perspective youth below the age of 35 account for 78% of Uganda’s population with 600,000 entering the labor market annually (Uganda Analytical Report on Youth Employment, 2016). The same report highlighted that there is increased internet penetration in rural communities which is going along solving a very critical problem in this day and era and COVID 19 has just exacerbated this fact Smallholder farmers having low access to climate smart farming technologies that could enhance their production capacities, as well as reduce pre- and post-harvest losses through proper processing and storage are some of the major issues that need urgent answers.

ICTs have the potential to increase farm productivity by supporting the efficient use of key resources like water, fertilizers, and land. Farmers can now use ICT tools to manage their farming activities, from crop selection to the monitoring of production (World Bank, 2011).
Instead of waiting for periodic agro-advisory services from overstretched extension agents, African farmers and agripreneurs can now obtain needed information, such as weather forecasts and output market prices, directly on their phones. ICTs are also used to find the best locations and prices of such inputs as seed and fertilizers.

“The increasing adoption of ICTs in everyday life and the growing digital marketplace for goods and services are creating opportunities for youth that transcend traditional paradigms. Young people can now find and carry out work, launch their entrepreneurial endeavors and even get paid via their cell phone”. These are views expressed by the International Telecommunications Union, the arm of the United Nations responsible for gathering information on global ICT status and indicators. For an increasing number of young people, ICTs have enabled key connections to markets, training opportunities, and capital, and provide an effective gateway to entrepreneurship and improved livelihoods.
Forty percent of those under the age of 25 (globally) use the Internet, as compared to the 23% of those over 25 years (ITU, 2016). Going by Facebook and other social network statistics, a sizable proportion of those over 25 who use the Internet are ‘older youth’ between the ages 25 and 35 .

Young people are pioneers and innovators relative to many ICT trends and applications. Because of their tendency to seek out new things, they are often early adopters of technologies and digital natives.

This global phenomenon is no different in Uganda and East Africa at large, where young people are well represented on the local ICT applications landscape. Indeed, Ugandan youth are playing a vital role in the ICT revolution through the creation of various innovative ICT solutions, by tapping into the opportunity of the increasing mobile and Internet connectivity in Uganda and the whole East African region by joining the agricultural sector with specific focus on the linkages between ICTs and the present realities (benefits) and future trends of youth involvement in agribusiness.
Compiled by

Farm Kiosk - ICT4Agric Researcher

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