Rural communities and agriculture need a voice more than ever before. Farmers and those in rural areas, especially the youth, deserves to be heard loud and clear. On the other hand, for the youth to fully take part in this sector, we need to paint a different picture about Agriculture. We need to delete the old “for the rural poor and uneducated” image that has been attached to this sector for far too long. We need to tell stories like no one else has. We need to tell stories that elevate and motivate. Stories that encourage and inspire. It has to be done from today and every day. That is what Agriculture deserves.
We need to sensitize, mobilize, persuade, engender and sustain rural Botswana communities interest in farming, also with a view to changing the youth’s negative perceptions about the sector. Rural communities and agriculture play an essential role in every culture and society throughout the world. It’s simple. Everyone has to eat. Not only that, Agriculture can play a critical role in jump starting rural economic transformation through the development of agriculture based industries that can bring much-needed jobs and income to rural folks. Successful investments in turn can stimulate agricultural growth through the provision of new markets and the development of a vibrant input supply sector.
Sustainable rural development through the agricultural sector is dependent on adoption of appropriate technologies and creation of effective communication strategies for dissemination of recommended techniques to end-users. Without this, the result of insufficient access to knowledge, information and education will be limited productivity and low yields due to adoption of poor farming methods. Lack of information also leads to farmers’ limited access to markets, and without such farmers will not be able to engage in viable and sustainable agricultural ventures.
There is an information gap between the industry and the media, and this gap prevents key messaging from being heard and understood by the key publics. It is vital that communicators and public relations professionals must employ specific strategies and tactics to effectively send out key messages. We can no longer apply a “One-size-fits-all” tactic when it comes to sharing information related to rural community and agricultural development.
There is a need to investigate the current strategies used to develop and manage development and agricultural messaging, and look for ways to enhance them to the benefit of professionals who develop and manage these messages as well as other key stakeholders.
National development is the task of all governments across the world and to attain this noteworthy objective, I believe there is need to start this development at the grassroots by giving agricultural and rural development its rightful place in the scheme of things. One of the giant strides in this perspective is the simple development of human resources through appropriate use of media and various channels.
It is my belief that as long as there is continued imbalance in the distribution and wrongful targeting of key community development and agricultural information, the possibility of harnessing the full potential of our youths and rural communities towards engaging in sustainable farming and attaining national development will forever remain a dream.
We need to spark a rural development and agricultural revolution for the benefit of the entire nation. It is as simple as that. Such a revolution will need robust strategies and a sustained investment in the entire agricultural value chain, which will in turn, raise productivity and yields, improve competitiveness which will lead to increased profits.