Opportunities in agriculture lie in long standing challenges, experts

Agriculture innovations and solutions that will thrive in the continent are those that seek to address everyday challenges faced by farmers and stakeholders, officials experts at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum have said.

Addressing the youth at a townhall meeting at the summit, eminent persons including Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente, business magnate Strive Masiyiwa and author Saul Singer said that opportunities in the agriculture sector lie in addressing common challenges.

Ngirente called on the youth involved in the sector to seek unconventional ways to address age-old challenges and hurdles which would lead to impact in the nation and the continent.

“Try and take up unconventional ways of doing things. Discover.  Try out new things. It is the only way we are going to transform our country and the entire continent,” he said.

He said that value in the sector lies on results as opposed to grand concepts which though good theoretically have no much impacts of livelihoods.

“You cannot be a good entrepreneur if you are not result-oriented. Our young people have started changing their mindset about that and this will help a lot,” the Premier said.

He also urged them to look past failures in the process of their respective journeys and not to lose focus on the bigger picture.

"To fail in business is normal, you can fail once, twice but at the 3rd time you can succeed, it is the matter of being innovative and learning,” the Prime Minister said.

Masiyiwa echoed Dr. Ngirente’s remarks on failure saying that young people should not be ashamed of failure but view it as a stepping stone to problem solution.

“Failure is not a problem, you have not to be ashamed with failure, entrepreneurship has to be comfortable with failure.  The true test of entrepreneurship is how comfortable one is with failure,” Masiyiwa said.

The business mogul demystified a perception that there was a shortage of financing  in the sector saying that there exists venture capitalists seeking to support the sector.

“Venture capital, unlike banks, anticipates failure.  We need more venture capitalists to support agricultural in Africa,” he said.

He said that budding enterprenuers have a chance of prosperity as going forward there is going to be a growing opportunity to feed the continent.

Saul Singer, the co-author of the popular book, Start-up nation said that often, the biggest opportunities lie in addressing exiting disadvantages as is the case in the agriculture sector.

Among the main challenges in the agriculture sector include post-harvest losses, mechanisation, market information, weather unpredictability and low quality inputs among others

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