Job Creation in Agriculture Crucial to Eradicating Poverty, Achieving Dev’t Aspirations: AU Commissioner

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Addis Ababa February 8/2022/ENA/ Creating job opportunities in the agriculture sector is critical to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and achieve development aspirations of Africa, AU Commissioner Josepha Sacko said.

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The AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development told ENA that empowering the young generation and creating jobs in the agriculture sector are critical steps African countries must take to eradicate poverty and ensure food security.

“To eradicate poverty in Africa, it is a matter of creating jobs because 60 percent of our youths are unemployed. So, the population has to be really empowered to get job opportunities and this sector of agriculture is very important. It can provide a lot of jobs for the youth,” she said.

According to her, the creation of small and medium enterprises for the youth can help in empowering women because 80 percent of what we eat is made by women.

The empowerment of the youth and job creation has to be inclusive of women for ensuring gender equality and accelerate inclusive growth in the countries and the continent, the commissioner stressed, adding that the private sector as the engine for jobs and wealth creation, productive investment, micro small and medium-sized enterprises, the rural sector and social economy are the main sources to create jobs.

Sacko noted that many people in Africa are going to school with public service jobs in mind and end up jobless without becoming creative in the private sector, which upholds vast opportunities in the continent.

“We cannot only depend on the public servant and that is what we have in our mindset. We need to change. The government cannot provide all these works. You have to be creative.”  

The commissioner pointed out that Kenya is a very good example in this regard. “ The youth are very creative. The private sector is the way forward and agriculture is private. It is not the government that grows what we eat, it is by the people, and these are the private sector for Africa. So, we have to reinforce our local private sector.”

Besides, African countries have to ease conditions to attract private sector investments and  facilitate agriculture-led industrialization in the continent.   

She further stated that the continent needs investors to come because it needs industrialization as Africa has got the raw material to feed the industries and create jobs for people.

Even if Africa has huge arable land, livestock resource and favourable ecological zones for agricultural and farming development, more than 280 million Africans are in hunger, it was learned.

Sacko pointed out that the subsistent agriculture systems of African countries have to accelerate to mechanization and irrigation farming as well as introduce the necessary inputs and reduce post-harvest loss to increase productivity and improve food security.

Moreover, some 40 percent of what the continent produces is gone because of lack of infrastructure and storage.

About 30 percent of the agricultural produces in Ethiopia are lost in the process as post-harvest loss.

The commissioner called for the operationalization of all these frameworks and urged African countries to implement the decisions committed to AU and operationalize the programs relevant to the transformation of the agriculture systems.

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