Ruto: Africa can attract youth to farming through technology
President William Ruto joined other leaders at the 13th Africa Food Systems Summit in Tanzania to address the continent’s critical issue of food security.
The summit coincided with the release of the Africa Agriculture Status Report 2023, which revealed that half of Africa’s population faces food insecurity.
In his speech, President Ruto emphasized the importance of engaging Africa’s youthful demographic in agriculture by leveraging technology and innovative approaches that resonate with them.
He stressed that technology can play a pivotal role in attracting young people to agriculture, highlighting Kenya’s efforts.
“We have registered all our farmers and employed technology to distribute fertilizer. Today, we utilize E-citizen, a government platform, to disseminate agricultural extension services because accurate information is essential for successful farming,” President Ruto stated.
The President also noted Kenya’s use of technology for weather forecasting and early warnings to support farmers.
“Mechanization is going to recruit young people into agriculture. I see it with my children. Unless you mechanize, it becomes very difficult for young people to be recruited into that space.”
According to the Africa Agriculture Status Report, the digital revolution holds immense potential to transform African food systems and enhance food security.
“Digital technologies can enable precision agriculture, which involves using data and technology to manage agricultural inputs (like water and fertilizer) more efficiently,” the report reads.
President Ruto urged a shift from rain-dependent farming practices, emphasizing the need for irrigation to bolster food security on the continent.
He explained, “Future rains will be unpredictable, and sometimes we confuse rain with water. We need water to grow food; we don’t need rain.”
This confusion, he noted, has led many countries to keep their farms idle, awaiting rain instead of embracing irrigation.