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Why Young Africans Are Swapping The Office For The Farm

Farming has an unglamorous image across Africa. But this might be changing – the BBC’s Sophie Ikenye met some young professionals who packed in their office jobs and moved back to the family farm.

Six years ago Emmanuel Koranteng, 33, gave up his job as an accountant in the US and bought a one-way ticket to Ghana.

He now has a successful business growing pineapples in a village one-and-a-half hours away from the capital, Accra.

He says that even when he was far away from the farm, it was always in his thoughts.

Across the continent, Dimakatso Nono, 34, also left her job in finance to return to the family farm in South Africa.

‘Always a market for quality’

She left her lucrative job five years ago and moved from Johannesburg to manage her father’s 2,000 acre farm three hours away in Free State Province.

She says she wanted to make an impact.

“I knew that if I came to assist my father, I would be able to actually make meaningful change.”

She began by counting his cows.

“At the beginning, we were not sure about what the animals were doing and where they were in the fields, so for me it was important to ensure that every single day, every activity that we do is recorded.”

Life on the farm has not been easy.

This year’s drought across Southern Africa put an end to her apple, maize and sunflower crops.

So does she ever have days when she thinks she made the wrong move away from the corporate world?

“No, not at all, not for me.

“I’m not always on top of the world but on such days I appreciate the fact that if need to rest or recuperate, there’s no better place than here where you have the nature to support you.”

‘Make agriculture entrepreneurial’

But both young farmers have found it difficult to get funding for equipment.

For this reason, Mr Koranteng has decided to stay small.

“If you are small and you don’t have funding, don’t try to do anything big. It’s all about being able to manage and produce quality because if you produce quality, it sells itself,” he says.

But there is to be made money in farming.

Read more: bbc

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