Agriculture could end poverty in Africa
Hartmann, director general of IITA, has an exciting vision for farming in Africa. Young people are not interested in farming like their parents and grandparents did. But agricultural products can find a good market in many industries, so increased production can mean higher incomes. This in turn gives the potential for agriculture to modernise, making use of sophisticated equipment and supporting many other jobs. But higher education in Africa needs to change, to produce a new generation of well-trained young entrepreneurs who can drive the modernisation of African farming. He explains his vision to Busani Bafana.
What is the future for farming in Africa? What will a typical African farm be like in 40 years time? Will there still be millions of people growing their own food, or will Africa just have a few farmers using machinery to cultivate huge areas? Recently, in March 2010, over a thousand scientists and policy-makers met in France to discuss the future of African farming. In particular, they wanted to decide the best options for scientific research, in supporting agriculture on the continent. At the conference was Hartmann, director general of IITA, of one of Africa's leading agricultural research institutes. He strongly believes that, with the right support and development, farming could be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty in Africa. Busani Bafana, a journalist from Zimbabwe, asked him why.
Hartmann, director general of IITA, with his view that African agriculture needs well-trained businessmen and women to transform it from subsistence production to a modern, exciting industry.
Making the most of it:
Hartmann wants to see young graduates starting agriculture-based businesses. So what do college graduates think? Is agriculture an attractive area to start a business in? What are the advantages or incentives, and are there things that make agriculture unpopular with entrepreneurs? Invite your listeners to phone in with their thoughts.
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