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Involving Young People in Agricultural Development: why it's critical for the sustainability of the sector

HandsAgricultural development specialists and policymakers around the world are concerned that young people are not interested in remaining in rural areas and taking up farming. Agriculture is rarely the first choice of many who study it. Agriculture holds no prestige and young people taking it up as a livelihood are not considered success stories in their communities.

While there will always be farmers and farming will remain a livelihood for many, the concern is that those who are not keen on entering the sector will not invest in it with an interest in innovating within the industry. Are there enough young people committed to creating a viable future for themselves in the sector?

A study in Uganda indicates that young people in agriculture are often looking for ways to get out of the profession. The results of the study which asked young people about their current jobs and future job aspirations, demonstrate that those in agriculture would prefer employment in another sector. This may mean that they are spending time on seeking alternative employment rather than investing in a stronger, better agricultural sector.

While similar studies on aspirations are not available for the Asia-Pacific region, it can be surmised that if the agricultural sector can provide young people with significant financial remuneration, this can, in turn, improve its public perception, earning young people in the sector the respect of their peers and community. 

You can read the full article in the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture's April 2014 newsletter.

Picture credit: Hands, by Vjeran Lisjak