How can production be effective without the appropriate technical know-how? How can I win the heart of my consumers with my products when I don’t understand what they really need? How can I continue production when I have not sold out what I have already produced? How can production be complete when the products have not reached the final consumers? These are the major questions most farmers in Africa asked consciously or unconsciously. And these questions are as a result of the gap between the major agro players in Africa.But I think there is a tool that can answer this questions and bridge up the gap.
I discovered that there are four major players in the game of agriculture: the farmers, the researchers (in research and academic institutes), the agro allied industries and the consumers. Each player plays a major role and like soccer they must work together in order to win the game; the research and academic institutions make findings and come out with new and improved technologies, the farmers apply these technologies and produce improved products for the agro allied industries and consumers, the agro allied industries make use of these products from the farmers and process it into finished products for the final consumers.
A Typical Africa Scenario
In Africa, each of these players plays on their own. No definite meeting point. The research and academic institutes make powerful research findings but they only stop in journals and consequently on universities library’s shelves. The farmers who cannot access these information continue to use their crude technologies and hence unable to meet up with the industrial demands. The agro allied industries do not know where and who produce what, and so resolve to importation of their raw materials even when these products can be found within. Consequently, the consumers will have to pay more for their products.
The Bridge: The Solution
A powerful tool that can bridge up this gap is Information and Communication Technology, especially the social media platform. This platform has been used to cause major revolution around the world including Africa. It was generally believed that this platform plays a pivotal role in the immediate past general election in Nigeria that brought in an opposition party for the first time in the history of the country. I’m a strong believer of the fact that this same platform can bring about agro revolution in Africa. But how can this platform be maximized when the young people who are the custodian of this platform are yet to key into agriculture? Oh yes! There need to be a mental shift for African youth as regards to the potential impact of agriculture. Agriculture has been tagged with poverty and old age in Africa, and average African youth will not be proud to be associated with agriculture.
To change this trend, I have been actively involved in the grass root mobilization of young people for African “agrorevolution” under the group called “Afrifood Initiative” founded in 2012 while still an undergraduate. My goal is to raise a new breed of young Africans with a new and positive perspective toward agriculture. I strongly believe that with my skills in public speaking/ verbal presentation and facilitation, if given the opportunity to be part of this year’s GCARD3 Global event, it will go a long way in contributing to the effectively delivery of this vision.
Africa has the capacity to feed herself. We’ve got the power to bring about social and economic revolution through agriculture, all it takes is to bring about a mental shift on her young people and that is what I am committed to.
I am Alifa Ojonugwa Nicholas, a vibrant, goal oriented young man with a deep passion for development of food and agriculture in Africa; Born on February 10, 1993, in Nigeria, I hold B.Sc. Food Science and Technology degree (First Class Hons) from Kogi State University, Anyigba in 2015. I’m presently overseeing ‘Afrifood Initiative’ work in Jos, Nigeria while doing my National Youth service Corps. I’m also an active member of NYSC Agroallied Community Development Service group.
This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.