Only 18 percent of youth use Agri-tech innovation in Rwanda, report says. Despite the fact that 45 percent of Rwandan youth are involved in agriculture, just 18 percent of them use agri-tech innovation, according to a recent analysis titled “The Future of Africa’s Agriculture – An Assessment of the Role of Youth and Technology.”
In 11 countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Heifer International interviewed 29,954 youths, 299 smallholder farmers, and 110 agri-focused organizations.
In Rwanda, 3,362 people participated in the survey.
According to the survey, innovators are turning to artificial intelligence, remote sensing, geographic information software, virtual reality, drone technology, application programming interface technology, and precision technology to provide accurate measurements of rainfall, pest control, soil information, soil productivity, and farm size and productivity potential.
On a larger scale, however, the findings revealed that, despite the potential of technology to transform Africa’s agriculture industry, smallholder farmers on the continent continue to encounter hurdles in implementing technology into their farming operations.
In the countries surveyed, just 23% of youngsters working in agriculture use any type of agricultural technology, such as Apps, SMS, websites, and software, among other things.
“Technology adoption in Africa is generally poor. “The lowest Agri-Tech adoption rates are in Ghana, Senegal, and Zambia, while the greatest adoption rates are in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria,” according to the paper.
The survey discovered that access to land or ownership is a key source of concern, with 59 percent of young people in 11 nations stating that they lack both.
According to the survey, 70% of Rwandan youngsters do not have access to land.
At least 39% of polled Agric-focused groups agreed that technology innovation is the greatest method to involve youth in agriculture in Africa, while 32% advised government support for young farmers. Youth participation in agricultural policy was suggested by 21% of respondents.
It shows that access to finance is a critical barrier to youth engagement in agriculture in Africa, according to 37% of those polled, while lack of access to land and lack of training are key barriers for 14% and 12% of those polled, respectively.
Farmers’ output has been negatively impacted by severe weather conditions, according to at least 30% of respondents, with 17 percent blaming insects, pests, and disease, and 14 percent blaming technological impediments.
The coronavirus outbreak forced 40 percent of agriculture-focused enterprises to temporarily close their doors, 38 percent saw a drop in average purchase amount per customer, and 36 percent lack the financial capital to reopen their doors.
With the exception of Tanzania, 10 out of 11 countries agreed that the most crucial help necessary is financing.
In Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, training and mentorship are viewed as more vital than funding when put into context.
Youth in Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana prioritized agricultural technology help, whereas access to land was a pressing issue in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Zambia.
According to officials, the Rwandan government is supporting intensification as a tactic to enhance productivity and farmers’ incomes due to a scarcity of land.
The long-term goal of Rwandan agriculture, according to the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTAIII), is to transform it from a mostly subsistence industry to a more knowledge-intensive, market-oriented sector capable of sustaining growth and providing value to products.
Heifer International Rwanda’s Country Director, Elisee Kamanzi, stated that resolving the constraints raised by the youth might increase agricultural output in Africa, meet food demand, and reduce youth unemployment.
According to 30% of respondents, adolescents require agricultural technological solutions that are simple to implement.
According to Ritha Tumukunde, Agriculture Socio Economy Specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, they are collaborating with many partners to build a youth employment plan in agriculture.
“What we’re doing to establish this plan will be informed by the study,” she said.
More agricultural technological solutions are being created, according to Victor Muvunyi, an Emerging Technologies senior technician at the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, however uptake is still low.
“We want to be an ICT powerhouse, so we need a thriving innovation ecosystem,” he said, adding that because Africa is a young continent, it should engage in agriculture through innovation.