Youths’ participation in agricultural intensification in Tanzania

Abstract: Agricultural intensification is necessary in Tanzania to meet the demands of a rapid growing population, and to avoid dependence on agricultural imports. An overwhelming share of the Tanzanian population is young, and the issue of employment among youth is increasingly debated. Agriculture is perceived to play a key role in creating employment opportunities in Sub-Sahara African as urban employment possibilities are limited, and domestic demand for food is growing. Based on a mixed methods approach this article aims to explore youths’ participation in agricultural intensification in Tanzania. Theretically, we depart from the concept of ‘opportunity space’ and take a contextual approach to near and distant opportunity spaces for the young rural Tanzanians. Our findings suggest that youth are excluded in agricultural intensification in maize production, but play a central role in the more labour intensive rice production. Contrasting to previous research, a majority of the interviewed youth said they prefer to stay in the rural areas, and a combination of farming and business was aspired to by many respondents. Tools and machinery, capital for agricultural investment, and infrastructure and access to markets were identified by the youth as some of the main obstacles to intensify farming, limiting their opportunity space.


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