The papers in this special issue measure the pace of change and the employment consequences of rapid ongoing transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agri-food system. After quantitatively assessing the pace of change in consumer diets, a succession of papers examines the resulting change in public health, employment structure, job skill requirements and the educational challenges facing agricultural education and training (AET) institutions charged with preparing African youth with workforce skill required to succeed in the continent’s rapidly changing, rapidly growing agri-food system. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Changes in consumer demand and workforce skill needs emerge from a quantitative projection model using Living Standards Measurement Studies in half a dozen countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. Based on surveys of employers, graduates and staff at AET institutions in a range of 14 different countries, the analyses evaluate the workforce skill needs and educational challenges for preparing Africa’s emerging youth bulge to seek productive careers on the farm and in post-farm segments of the agri-food system. Throughout, the papers contrast findings from countries at different stages in the food system transformation using a typology developed in this paper.
The concluding paper in this issue by Kabasa, Kirsten and Minde summarizes key findings emerging from this collection.
The contributions in this special issue report original research based on analysis of LSMS data and on interviews with agri-food system employers, agricultural education institutions and professionals in over a dozen African countries.
The authors wish to acknowledge valuable financial support provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under their Modernizing African Food Systems (MAFS) grant to Michigan State University, the University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University and Makerere University for empirical work in Eastern and Southern Africa. The authors are similarly grateful to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for their support to the Higher Education Solutions Network at Michigan State University, which has supported additional empirical work evaluating trends in urbanization and implications for workforce development in Africa. Finally, the authors would like to recognize the invaluable professional guidance provided to the MAFS team by the MAFS Advisory Board, chaired by Richard Mkandawire and including Maggie Kigozi, Irene Annor-Frempong, Hamidou Boly and John Purchase.
Kaneene, J.B., Haggblade, S. and Tschirley, D.L. (2015), "Special issue introduction: Sub-Saharan Africa’s agri-food system in transition", Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 94-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/JADEE-02-2015-0012
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