Contrary to most people's perception about agriculture as being a poor-old man's occupation in the village, agriculture is certainly “the best culture” and has great potential to revive and drive our dwindling economy.
Amid global pandemics such as COVID-19 when almost all other sectors of the economy are on their knees, demand for agricultural commodity remains high. For instance, due to COVID-19 several industries have severely been hit including transport & energy industries following travel bans on commercial airlines. The tourism & hospitality industries are no exception.
Despite the global crisis demand for agricultural products such as food has remained high as everyone needs to eat regardless of the situation. Furthermore, medical and nutritional experts recommend the need for healthy diets to maintain strong immune systems in the fight against COVID-19. If anything, demand for Agricultural raw materials has increased due to COVID 19 as manufacturing industries are demanding more agricultural raw materials such as cotton to produce face masks and other protective clothing. Demand for fresh cassava tubers has also increased as it is being used as the main ingredient in the processing of ethanol for making alcohol-based hand sanitisers. In J. Buel's words "Agriculture is the Archimedean lever which, though it does not move a world, tends to fill it with plenty, with moral health, and human happiness."
According to the 2018 labour force survey report Zambia’s youth population is estimated at 5.8 million representing 35% of the national population, an amazing 5.8 x 100 billion neurons. This entails that the country is equipped with both cognitive capacity and adequate youthful manpower to drive the sector. Therefore, the youth should embrace agriculture and the government should make deliberate policies that support and encourage youth involvement in agriculture because it is envisaged that youth are creative and innovative, their innovation can be very key in improving the sector’s efficiency through technology.
Photo credit: Young Farmer Maanda