Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Currently busy on the challenge of changing the perception of the continent's youth on the agricultural sector, he doesn't at all forget African leaders.

"Unfortunately, in our governments, we still have people who have not yet understood that other continents have developed through agriculture.I would say almost 90% of our leaders consider agriculture as a social activity and they think that by declaring agriculture is a priority, they are solving the problem. That is also a state of mindset that we need to change", says Sanginga.

"When I was working in Kenya with a Nigerian colleague, we used to talk about how we could one day change how agriculture is practiced on the continent. It comes that when I became DG of IITA, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. Between 2011 and 2015, he basically managed to change the way agriculture is perceived in his country, but he never managed to get the government to invest more than 3% in agriculture in Nigeria", laments the current head of IITA.

Also, the native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can't understanding how a country like Nigeria can afford to spend $ 5 billion to import food while at the same time in Abuja, there are 11 million applications for 5,000 positions.

"Agriculture should be considered as investment, the way we invest in mines, we should be able to invest in agriculture as well, and that would create jobs here at home instead of exporting jobs to countries like Thailand or the United States where we import rice", he insists.

Nteranya Sanginga, Director of IITA is already doing his part through the Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) program started in 2012 and currently covering 24 countries and the STEP program (Start Them Early Program) launched in March 2019, whose first phase covers nine secondary schools in Kenya, Nigeria and DRC.

"We try to teach the small ones that agriculture is a business for them to grow up with the idea that they can make money in agriculture, and I think these are very important programs for Africa because the average age of African farmers is 60. If we don't engage young people in agriculture on our continent, we will be at the mercy of the other countries because in 2035, agriculture will become a billion-dollar business and this activity will be taken by Americans, Chinese, etc.", Nteranya Sanginga develops.

He calls on policy makers to take their responsibility by encouraging funding, research, mechanization for the agricultural sector to make the sector more attractive to young people.

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