This is a guest post by Tiken Jah Fakoly, musician, activist and supporter of ONE’s African campaign Do Agric.
I am a reggae man, music is my profession. But when I am not singing, I want to put myself at the service of my continent, Africa, in which I believe.
This is precisely the reason why I created the association “Un concert, une école” (One concert, one school). I have built schools in Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire in order to give children the opportunity to go to school and to highlight the importance of education in our countries.
After that, I began to develop an interest in farming, because Africa needs education and food. We have all this land. It rains, the sun shines; all you need to grow food. Yet we import more than 60 percent of our food!
I therefore decided to farm in the north of Côte d’Ivoire, in the village where I spent part of my childhood. I invested in tractors and seeds, and began to grow rice, with the country folk who live in this area. By investing in this domain, I also wanted to change the image of agriculture, especially among young people. Currently, it is considered “dirty” work, although we all need to eat.
When you travel in African capitals today, you see a lot of idle young people, who only ask for money. Many people today think that being a farmer is not THE trendy job – but this is a noble job. Without it, we wouldn’t have food to eat in the big cities. One should be proud to be a farmer.
The earth is a factory that can employ millions of young people. Through agriculture, Africa can rise again. This is why I have made the commitment to stand with ONE in the “Do Agric, It pays!” campaign.