By Dr. Raymond Davies, Trade Horizons Associate, Colchester, UK

The world population will reach 9.1 billion in 2050 from the present 7.9 billion feeding that number of people with increasing global prosperity we will need to produce 70% more food. That’s a huge expanding market for the agricultural sector. So how do we attract African youth with the right entrepreneurial mindset to succeed into their agricultural sector? With a focus on productivity!

Agriculture accounts for more than 30% of Africa’s GDP and employs more than 60% of the continent’s working population yet this is threatened by low farm productivity. African governments have attempted using policy instruments to improve farm productivity yet most farmers have only marginally improved yields. The key to improving yields (and quality) is to leverage new technologies and this is where to pinpoint a new prosperity for African farming while encouraging entrepreneurial youth to enter the farming business away from urban centres.


The main hindrance is the small amount of commercial lending that goes into agriculture, less than one percent! So smaller farms, averaging 1.6 hectares, rarely acquire the technology and tools to transform productivity. A change in mindset in the financial institutions must occur.

The barriers to entry into farming technology is reducing considerably, as cloud computing along with connectivity as SpaceX’s Starlink internet service is about to enter the African market will make digital tools increasingly affordable and accessible to small sized African farm operations.



For example, aerial images from satellites coupled with adapted drones with soil sensors are enabling managing crop growth in real time, providing early warnings from normal growth. That’s after analysing soil data for prime site location particularly on levels of nutrients to help farmers optimally manage their farms to improve productivity and the nutrient density of their produce.

This opens up a huge value added market for nutrient quality farm produce from Africa for the emergence of the application of functional medicine and gut health in European and American health conscious markets.  This is a huge attraction for African youth to enter the agricultural sector as a career particularly with new youth farmer entrepreneurs drawn into the sector.

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The application of analytics to facilitate data-driven farming for small-scale farmers will further accelerate the employment opportunities. African farming then becomes a career draw and entrepreneurial choice for youth, particularly with its local and international reach. Technology is making farming exciting for young people, therefore able to transform African rural communities.


The implication is that African smart farming start-ups can build the momentum to productivity and quality. African governments should look to fund large-scale soil maps to accelerate precision farming in Africa. Look to link new farm land development to localised grids with solar farms and battery storage for available and reliable electricity to utilise appropriate preservation and storage techniques. Pioneering affordable local solutions of food safety and tracking food supply chains will boost the overall value of the sector and land being brought into production. Farming Technology opens that door for African youth. Embrace it Africa!

Please contact Dr. Raymond Davies, Trade Horizons Associate for more information

Dr. Raymond Davies

Dr. Raymond Davies

Featured image: Rice fields and hillscapes encircle a village near Toamasina in the Atsinanana region of eastern Madagascar.