It is said that the youth are the future of food security. Around the world, relatively few young people are involved in agriculture. With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world and unemployment for youth is a growing concern: youth account for 60 per cent of all African unemployed, according to the World Bank.
Most of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers, a quickly aging group, in developing countries. It has been noted that older farmers are less likely to adopt new technologies needed to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, and engaging youth in agriculture is becoming paramount.
In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the region, proactive students are taking initiative to find ways on how to get youth involved in food security and food production as well as other issues affecting the youth. Towards this end, the Zimbabwe SANBio Student Ambassadorial team, led by Ms Joyce Fati Masvaya and Ms Mellisa Chimuchembere, together with nine bioscience students arranged a 4-day trip to the Malawi Fish Node at Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR) to familiarise themselves with ongoing projects that could also be undertaken by youth in Zimbabwe.
The role of the SANBio Student Ambassadors is to innovate and implement bioscience-related activities that are aimed at raising awareness, improving the livelihoods of the youth and to encourage networking of students undertaking bioscience courses in the region.
With the knowledge acquired from the Malawi Fish Node, the team from Zimbabwe looks forward to initiating Youth Development Projects which are meant to improve youth's livelihoods through biosciences in Zimbabwe – the envisaged new projects will focus on fish farming and mushroom production.
The team also had a chance to engage with Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Emmanuel Kaunda, who enlightened the students on the importance of hands-on skills and encouraged the team to undertake research with impact.
The Zimbabwean students aspire to keep on networking with other students from different countries and come up with solutions for Africa. Visits to another SANBio Node with other student ambassadorial teams from Malawi and South Africa later this year are also being planned.
Our network of students with ambition and passion towards biosciences is rapidly growing. Get involved – join us in creating a better future for the youth of Africa!
Published on behalf of the SANBio Student Ambassador team in Zimbabwe.