Do young farmers farm differently? Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa
The idea that African young people can be the agents for positive change in rural areas is in widely acknowledged. There are many stylized assumptions about youth in African agriculture. it has often been asserted that young people are innovative, risk-taking, early adopters of new technology, and eager to engage with non-traditional opportunities. This discussion paper explores the empirical basis for these stylized facts using a mixed methods approach. The question how we think about the notion that youth bring something new to farming can be answered with the data that indicates observe marginally higher propensities to engage with intensification practices and commercial orientations which are objectives of much current policy and programming. We discuss the opportunities and constraints associated with using currently available data sources to explore how young people in Africa farm. This helps to answer if African youth farm differently. The answer is that there is limited magnitude of age effects on management practices. Therefore, there are probably few viable policy avenues for unleashing the much vaunted, latent youth whirlwind of innovative effervescence.