A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT

In developing countries, agricultural occupations are commonly affected by low salary, low productivity, lack of social defense and exposure to a variety of risks, including weather issues and unstable markets. These are the reasons why young rural people gradually turn their backs on agriculture. Many of them prefer to migrate to urban areas, or even to other countries, in the hope of finding decent jobs. More often, they realize quickly that they lack the skills needed to compete in saturated job markets.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs states, “The current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. During this period, Africa is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth” (www.un.org). The question we should ask ourselves is who is going to feed this growing population? I believe young men and women are the next generation of farmers in Africa’s rural areas. Many of farmers face constraints in gaining access to land, credit and new technologies. They also need extensive and broader educational opportunities and access to relevant vocational training programs. They are a group of people who need and deserve special attention and support. With their energy, passion and talents, they can help solve many problems the world faces today, including food security and poverty. Before this can occur, they must gain the skills and confidence needed to run profitable farms and businesses.

The solution is that young people need more access to technology to make agriculture interesting. Without technology, as they have already seen from their parents, agricultural work is difficult and unprofitable. With today’s modern technology, training and information, agriculture should become attractive.

Bill Gates said: “If you care about the poorest, you care about agriculture,” and “Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty, and they have made life better for billions of people.” (www.gatesfoundation.org)

We, African Future Farmers members, share the same vision and agree to join forces in making the world a better place to live with sufficient food and zero-target poverty.

Our mission is to increase food productivity, to integrate technology into small-farm methodology, to develop marketing skills necessary to compete globally, to teach life management skills to young farmers, and to build sustainable food systems in West Africa, which will not only address the issues of poverty and hunger but will also inspire and train the next generation of farmers.

If you agree with our mission, then join and help us achieve our goals.

Thank you,

Espoir Tomenou