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Co-creation is key to supporting youth in small-scale food production: A Pre-COP Side Event with FAO, YOUNGO and YPARD

For the Pre-COP in Italy, YPARD along with FAO and YOUNGO co-organized the Side Event “Creating a resilient livelihood for youth in small-scale food production.” The opening speakers emphasized the barriers to youth in agriculture, especially in small-scale production.

YPARD Director Genna Tesdall, as one of the opening speakers, emphasized the need to co-create programs for youth with youth, including supporting programs created by youth. To better the support youth need, she illustrated a framework for interventions seeking to alleviate the structural barriers young people encounter when entering and seeking to remain in small-scale agriculture.

This framework, summarized below, can be used to categorize the case studies highlighted by the panelists, but also when considering future interventions. Among many other exciting highlights, FAO announced upcoming publications on supporting youth in small-scale food production, and YOUNGO emphasized the opportunity to get involved in advocacy through their activities. Hearty thanks to our co-organizers at FAO and YOUNGO. YPARD looks forward to more productive collaboration supporting small-scale producers together!


Content of the presentation:


Factors of successful engagement of youth in small-scale food production


  • Youth engagement is becoming more and more a focus of international policy and cooperation efforts. Youth are a cross-cutting theme.
  • Increasing recognition that no programs should be made FOR youth WITHOUT youth--- just as applies to all other intervention recipients.
  • Acknowledgement that youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today.
  • Small-scale farmers, including young small scale farmers, are diverse and are a heterogenous group.
  • Youth are especially important for small-scale farming; we tend to be open to change, tend to be early adopters of innovations, and develop new approaches. They also invest in their educations, helping bridge research, education, and practice.

Small-scale support intervention framework

To better understand supporting youth in small-scale agriculture, we can use a framework to understand interventions to support youth.

  • In reality, interventions often check many boxes of the framework.
  • The intended recipients of the interventions should always be co-creators.

In this framework, the main work areas where actors can intervene to support small-scale farmers, especially young small-scale farmers and including the examples we hear about in this session, can be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Access to networks
  2. Access to knowledge
  3. Advocacy for an enabling policy environment
  4. Access to finance and land