Let us teach the rural youth about modern farming technologies. They are willing to learn but they do not know where to start.

 Youths want to learn about modern farming but they do not know how. Lets help them learn!

If you have read any of my articles, you might have realized that I like sharing personal stories relating to my experience either as a youth, a member of a smallholder family, or other professional experiences that I have gathered in the course of my work during the past few years. This perspective has elicited a lot of feedback from young people and other like-minded professionals who express great gratitude and interest to share their stories too. 

Since the relaxation of the COVID-19 travel restrictions early this month, I have managed to make numerous visits to rural areas to meet farmers, friends, and family members who live in rural areas. I always inform them about my visits early enough so that they can prepare for some solid conversations and questions around agriculture, and most of them informed me that they read my blog in advance so that they can understand how best I can assist them to make their farms more productive. I have seen this blog slowly becoming a powerful tool to reach young people with the most useful content relating to farming. One thing I can attest here is that young people have a great desire to learn about modern technologies of farming, but somehow, they do not know where to start or from where to learn. This has proven a theory to me that “the custodian of knowledge carries the biggest responsibility to disseminate it especially to the rural communities”. Some people may say that if you are the needy one, you should come forward and ask for what you want. But in farming, this statement is highly misleading. People in rural areas lack exposure. They have no idea how profitable farming looks like. Not even to mention that they are not aware of the existence of the various new technologies of farming that they can use to improve their farm productivity. Having this in mind, I strongly believe that the one who discerns a problem has the biggest responsibility to solve it.

If we, professionals, sit back and wait for farmers, youths, and the poorly informed rural communities to come to us seeking for knowledge, we may wait eternally. A person who is not aware has no responsibility. It is for us to go out there and serve those who are less privileged.

For instance, among the dozens of young people that I have met in the past two weeks, none of them has ever visited a large-scale farm. None has ever seen serious greenhouse farming or a processing plant. None has ever attended training on fertilizer application, mechanization etc. In short, they have never had any practical interaction with the modern farming technologies. Some do not even believe in the existence of certain technologies. I told one old man that he could monitor his heard of cattle using a drone as he sits comfortably in his home compound, and he thought I was kidding.

In short what I am trying to say is that, if you are among the privileged few who know more about modern farming, then you have a huge responsibility (opportunity) to share that knowledge with the rural communities who are ill-informed. It is up to you to decide "how". You can translate this responsibility as a moral action or a business opportunity. But the reality is, rural communities are ill-informed, but they are very eager and willing to learn.

For example, like what tours and travel companies do, someone can start a company that offers agritourism travels and farm visits services. Such services, though commercial, could provide a huge opportunity for rural communities to visit other successful agricultural areas and farms.

I am just speaking my mind. But I am very satisfied that when I meet people nowadays, we sit to discuss and analyze certain articles or ideas that I highlight in this blog of mine. It is a great motivation to continue sharing through writing.

The bottom line: If we do not educate the young people (especially the less informed rural residents) about the modern ways of farming, they will continue practicing farming the old way (like their father and fore-fathers).