There is great potential for impact from young professionals’ in the agricultural sector policy information, innovation and research on value chains linked to policies and participation in the development and implementation processes. In realization of this, policy making institutions need to acknowledge research for development as an important factor in the transformation of the agriculture sector.
Where opportunities for capacity development are available for young people, there is often a mismatch between them and the resources for engaging the young people in the agriculture sector. Opportunities in the agricultural value chain are not clearly articulated. Research and implementing institutions are also hierarchical and not necessarily responsive to the demands of the youth.
Most young people consider agriculture to be unattractive due to the limited access, low returns and lack of a market-led approach in the African agricultural sector. In addition, many jobs in the agricultural sector have a strong seasonal component or are categorised as vulnerable.
A large proportion of the unemployed youth reside in the rural areas where there are limited or no resources for accessing information on available development opportunities or cutting edge agriculture. Where the resources are available, affordability becomes a constraint. The type of resource available also determines its accessibility; for example, it would be easier for the rural youth to access newsletters/magazines than to pay for Internet usage.
There is no career guidance, mentorship or support for young people in research and development. Those young people who are involved in research for development are not clear on the roles they are able to play in the development processes within the agricultural value chain. Development organizations and initiatives do not prioritize meaningful engagement with young people; as such, their contribution is not optimized.