The issue of youth in agriculture
The difficulty of the market to regulate youth employment, aging agricultural workforce, the multiplicity of initiatives qualified as "necessary entrepreneurship" for young people, the low involvement of young people in peasant organizations and their limited rights to access to land, such as the weakness of lobbying, call all stakeholders to a consultation. This is why " international multi-stakeholder" networks grow in order to create a strong lobbying.
Faced with these challenges, YPARD Burkina Faso held an advocacy day on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 in Ouagadougou, focusing on "New Farmer: Opportunities, brakes and prospects". This day mobilized twenty people nearly 15 structures / companies (Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth, University Ouaga II, Yam-Pukri, Confédération Paysanne du Faso (CPF), GRAF, OXFAM, Corade etc.). After a brief presentation of YPARD, three papers* were given followed by a testimonial from a young agricultural entrepreneur.
From challenges to opportunities...
The conclusions of the discussions were that young people are not sufficiently represented in farmers' organizations (POs) for, most the time, the members are agri-entrepreneurs whom age is as an average 47 years old. In addition, the governance of POs is strongly related to gerontocracy. In cases where young people are taken into account they usually occupy marginal positions such as secretariat work. Currently, Youth Federation in agriculture exists by right but is, in fact, in lethargy.
This testifies that leaders renewal is difficult due to the insufficient involvement of young people in POs. Regarding access to land, young people are less privileged because accessibility is related to marital status and land is generally granted to operations managers. Note also that young people’s land are mostly uncultivated or small. Among all these difficulties, the major problem lies essentially in securing youths’ land.
Beyond the barriers or constraints, we must see agriculture as a whole. The area offers interesting opportunities, especially for youth. With the development of ICTs, young people can create value-added services for the agricultural sector: encourage the creation of monitoring networks in agricultural markets, facilitate virtual networks (Facebook, Blog) for POs and producers, accompany the installation and monitoring of projects, etc. This is the way for graduates to switch to the agricultural sector.
From studies to agricultural practices
After obtaining her Masters in Innovation and Rural Development and having difficulty integrating the job market, Aurore decided to convert in breeding broilers near Ouagadougou. This conversion was not easy. She had to run on equity, deal with marketing difficulties on the market and the losses caused by incessant power cuts, etc. In addition, the farm is on land that was loaned to her; and therefore there is a risk in investing. Currently, with her experience, she aims to breed local chickens.
Recommendations / Suggestions
Participants suggested the Confédération Paysanne du Faso to initiate steps to encourage the integration of young people in more or less strategic leadership positions and helping to revitalize the Federation of Agricultural young professionals from Burkina Faso. They are also unanimous that a powerful network of young agricultural professionals help facilitate access and securing youth land. In addition, regular training of young people on the importance of ICT in agriculture will create self-employment opportunities.
Suggestions were made to set up a dynamic network among young agricultural professionals and structures involved in the agricultural sector. Following this day, Friday, August 14, 2015, the initiators and supporters of the initiative YPARD Burkina Faso met to discuss the statutes and internal regulations of the association.
- Young and senior positions in peasant organizations : Issoufou Porgo CPF
- Access to land for young people in family farming : Saydou KOUDOUGOU, Research and Action Group on Foncier ( GRAF )
- ICT in agriculture and opportunities for young people: Inoussa TRAORE Yam - Pukri .
Read the Advocacy Day's report for more information [available in French only].