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Only 18% of Rwanda’s youth in agriculture uses agri-tech innovation: Survey

Despite 45% of youth in Rwanda engaged in agriculture, only 18% of them use agri-tech innovation, according to a new report ‘The Future of Africas Agriculture - An assessment of the role of Youth and Technology’

The survey conducted by Heifer International interviewed 29,954 youths, 299 smallholder farmers and 110 agri-focused organisations in 11 countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Rwanda, the survey was conducted on 3,362 respondents.

The findings showed that despite the potential of technology to change Africa's agriculture sector, the continent's smallholder farmers continue to face challenges in incorporating technology in their agricultural practices.

The survey found that only 23% of youth engaged in agriculture use agricultural technology such as an apps, SMS, website, software among others in surveyed countries. “Overall, technology adoption in Africa is quite low. Ghana, Senegal and Zambia have the lowest agri-tech adoption rate, while Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria have the highest adoption rates,” the report stated.

The survey found that access to land or ownership is a major cause of concern as 59% of youth surveyed indicated they lack both in 11 countries. The report shows that 70% of youth have no access to land in Rwanda.

“Most youth in Africa do not have access to land for agriculture. At least 59% of youth surveyed do not have access to or own land. Land ownership amongst young people is lowest in Ghana, Zambia, Senegal and Rwanda,” showed findings of the report.

Funding, training and access to agriculture technology are the three key areas to support youth to encourage their involvement in agriculture, the report recommended.

At least 30% of respondents said that adverse weather conditions have negatively impacted farmers' productivity as 17% attributed poor yield to insects, pests and disease while 14% attribute it to technology barriers.