By Zephania Ubwani News@tz.nationmedia.com
Arusha — An agricultural transformation programme targets to create jobs for at least 30 per cent of the youth in the East African region. The youths would be absorbed in the agriculture food chain as well as gain access to attractive opportunities in agri-business. This emerged during this week's high level forum on Inaugural Biennial Review Report of Malabo Declaration on Agricultural Growth, a continent-wide initiative to boost agriculture. "Promoting youth employment in agriculture is a top priority in our region," said Ugandan minister for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Vincent Ssempijja.
Under the Malabo Declaration, the African Union (AU) will focus on halving poverty by the year 2025.
The Declaration was adopted by the AU Heads of State during their summit at Malabo in Equatorial Guinea in 2014. The Ugandan minister said the East African Community (EAC) aims to implement the programme through increased investments in agriculture.
The agriculture sector, not only provides untapped potential to boost productivity and entreneurship but can also create decent employment to thousands of unemployed youth.
"Boosting youth employment in agricultural value chains is a low hanging fruit ready for harvesting", observed Chimimba D. Phiri, the sub-regional coordinator for eastern Africa of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Dr Chimimba, who is also the UN body's representative to the AU, stressed that youth employment in the sector would ensure food security.
Rwanda, one of the six EAC partner states, was lauded during the meeting for emerging as the best performing country in implementing the seven committments under the Malabo Declaration.
The Declaration has been made within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), an initiative designed to boost agricultural productivity in the continent through increased investments.