Ex-college youths going to farm becoming a trend

16Mar 2018
The Guardian
Ex-college youths going to farm becoming a trend

DEVELOPMENT practitioners have of late been taking note of a tendency at what are called technology savvy youths heading back to the farm, obviating from tradition that has characterised African education and urbanisation, like elsewhere.

Ex-school and even ex-college unemployment is so rife that other outlets are needed where a minimal exposure to higher education is relevant, and now farming is becoming part of it. The hopes of Africa's version of the dot.com generation, tech firms being at the centre of stock exchange meltdown in New York back in 2000 are adrift, as market need for technicians is limited at best, or drained.

The competition is higher than it was before as instruments needing technical handling are being replaced by direct channels for music or film instead of purchasing copies on the streets, despite that they are still available. It is the same way in which the clothing industry is trying to pull itself out of a morass of used clothing, where global ties of quasi-free trade ties for instance with the United States deflect policy makers from seeing through a planned phasing out of used clothing. Global values dictate local use of technology.

While it is hard for a simple computer literate youth to go back to the farm and apply that technique, as a matter of fact the uses of technology as a whole, and even a modicum of computer training, are rising. There are solar applications being put up everyday and extension services and outreach efforts reaching villages in more and more districts, which means some technology exposure is needed for localisation of technology to stand on its feet in villages as well. Not only would some well educated city youths finding it hard to get jobs drift back to villages, but village youths ought to be exposed to technology; peer assistance is needed.

Challenges that come in that area include over-emphasis on computer literacy or applications and less than adequate pursuit of other or broader fields, like knowledge of electric circuits generally and its various applications. Still there is something about markets that is going to work here as well, namely that needs create adherents to a particular field as the need for an individual adept in this or that aspect soon sends word around that people with such formation can get jobs. It sparks interest for those undergoing technical exposure for the first time, and additional training for those already aware of other occupational biases, etc.

Looking at the array of issues and needs at the farming level that technologically exposed youths can do there is a score of them, energy applications being one, equipment maintenance, aside from other issues that any farmer needs no know. Days when farms produced their own seeds are over and done with, while there are plenty of tricksters out there selling fake equipment, seeds, etc. Liaising villages and urban sales point is likely to be improved the more village committees have more technology savvy youths, to help identify what is proper and what is fake. And with modernised communications, tarmac roads to most districts, the old nausea where village life is far less boring, not with satellite dishes and UEFA matches. Then of course the city malady of betting will soon encroach the villages, and some bonanza winners come from there as well.