The Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has clearly affected all areas of social and economic activity, and both governments and nongovernmental organizations around the world are mobilisingto find ways of arresting its harmful impact. However, in order to respond and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system, young people, governments, and civil society should focus on creating small-scale agricultural projects.
Agriculture has a huge influence on the socioeconomic development of any country, as it helps combat poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment. It also provides the raw materials that sustain other economic activities. However, successive governments seem to place little value on this sector, which often leads people to seek refuge in other economic activities.
If our aim is to build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system, agriculture should be at the forefront of our thinking. Investing in this sector now will create the conditions needed to solve the problems caused by Covid-19, such as unemployment and food insecurity, thereby giving people hope once again.
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed our weaknesses and import dependency. So, now we must start relying on ourselves, placing faith in our own production and expanding it to serve ourselves better. We must start supplying our domestic markets with national products, and also consider setting up industries to add value to our produce. Conditions must also be created to ensure that products are supplied by producers in a balanced exchange that benefits all parties involved.
This basically entails joint endeavour between youth, governments, and civil society. Governments and civil society must encourage young people, first of all, to submit agricultural projects for development, through competitive bidding processes. Once the winners have been selected, they must then be supported in the implementation of their projects. Support should also be given to all those who work in agriculture, to encourage people to view this sector as crucial for societal development.
It is also extremely important to modernize our agricultural system, to adopt new production techniques that will make agricultural activities feasible even in the dry season.
To conclude, responding to the impact of Covid-19 basically involves putting our faith in the creation of small-scale agricultural projects by young people, working in conjunction with governments and civil society. Such faith is justified by the fact that agriculture has the potential to solve the problems we are facing at this time of crisis (food insecurity and unemployment). To invest in a policy of production and processing of national agricultural output, to supply domestic markets instead of being totally dependent on imports. Now is also the time to show that we can produce, manufacture, and export to other parts of the world. Only in this way will we be able to build a stronger and healthier post-pandemic economic and social system.
Tchuda Na Blaga is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Guinea-Bissau. The piece is excerpted from blogs.