Youth are the future of food security. Yet around the world, few young people see a future for themselves in agriculture or rural areas.
The average age of farmers is on the rise and there is little prospect for younger generations to replace ageing farmers, resulting in what is referred to as the "generation gap". Challenges are multidimensional and require interventions at various levels. Young entrepreneurs’ capacities need to be strengthened and they need to have access to a wide range of services.
In the sidelines of the CFS 45, A youth side event dubbed “Agriculture is not cool ?! Think again. Closing the generation gap” was organized by the Swiss National FAO Committee (CNS-FAO), the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YARD), the World Famers’ Organization (WFO), the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG).
The discussants highlighted their experiences in engaging youth for responsible agricultural investments in agriculture. Among the recurring ones were; Access to finance, credit, inputs and insurance and impost.
Notable too was the thematic focus on young people not being included in the pertinent conversations by the governments in their countries. For instance, the national policy of ecology and family farming in Brazil has no mention whatsoever of the young people and the key role they can play in the ecology framework of Brazil.
The proposed solutions
Multi-stakeholder dialogues that view young people as an integral part of the forum and not just seeing them in need of support. Every forum is a right forum to integrate the youth voices and articulate their issues.
Reinforcing the image of youth in agriculture as one for which it's attractive for young people to be part of. This can be more enhanced through showcasing success stories of young people engaged in the agricultural value chain, and more important provision of mentorship services for the young people across the agricultural value chain.
YPARD director stressed on youth empowerment and mentorship as an avenue to ensuring inclusion of young people in the broader policy conversation. Of particular, YPARD works to strengthen its national representative who then goes forth and change the conversations at the local level. There is more to be done if we are all united in the same front.
Detailed report coming soon. Photographs taken during the event can be found on https://www.flickr.com/photos/faonews/albums/72157700976229711/with/30445704577/