Most often, youth have claim that access to land is the biggest hindrance to their involvement in agriculture and agribusiness.
When asked why they still find it hard to engage in agriculture, the common answer given by the youth is, “I don’t have land to start agriculture.” Land is the most valued and top factor of production and without it, indeed activities can come to a standstill – especially in this part of Africa
Because of the value it fetches coupled with demand for the same, land has become a very scarce resource on the African continent. Those who have really have and those who don’t have are ever increasing in numbers. It is common to find an individual having square miles of land- many times unutilized or underutilized. This inequality in land ownership will never end especially with the ever growing population and its pressures on the African continent. It is on this ground that many have opted out of the agricultural sector.
Where there is a challenge, there is always an option to take. A number of options are available for youth to take on to avert the access to land challenge and be successful agripreneurs:
Passion: With or without land, a successful agripreneur needs to first have the love and passion for agribusiness. Most agribusinesses fail because those who set them up lack the passion to run these enterprises. Businesses set up by entrepreneurs with short team goals normally fail as compared to businesses with long term goals. A passionate agripreneur will do all they can to secure land either to set up his agribusiness or to expand it.
Engage in backyard farming: Everyone has a home where they live and at least this home has some unused space in the backyard. This idle land can be used as option to land scarcity as it is ideal. A well set up and innovative backyard garden can compete with a plot of land in an open area.
Borrow land: With the land tenure system in Africa, it is common to find a single person with miles of uncultivated land. Getting land therefore from those who have it can be a good start for youth with minimal chances of buying their own land. It is close to impossible for a fresh graduate, with no job to purchase enough productive land to engage in agribusiness. Borrowing land can be on a mutual understanding with a relative, a friend or any other person who owns that parcel of land. This could be at no cost or at a very low charge that if agreeable can be paid at the end of the season.
Pool funds: There is a famous saying that “One by one makes a bundle”. This is one practice that youth can use to raise funds and acquire land. While in school, youth should strive to build networks and connections with fellow youth whom they can work with in matters of finance. In so doing, they will get to learn from each other and also save large amounts of money that they could resolve to buy land with. They can then share the same land to engage in agribusiness.
Opt to stay out of the city center: There is a lot of pressure exerted on land in the city centers. This is due to the many people that move from rural areas to the urban centers in search for opportunities, which in many cases are not available. There is a lot of unused land that those who move to towns leave behind in the rural areas. As a young person, this is an opportunity for you to take on and use the vast and readily available productive and cultivable land in the villages.
Leaving other factors of production constant, land should not be a hindrance for youth to engage in and set up a successful agribusiness. It is never too late to try out the options above. Let us become champions of agriculture, zero hunger and zero poverty!
Photo credit: Decaseconds (Flickr user)