No module Published on Offcanvas position

Youth vital players in responsible investment in agriculture and food systems

Action is needed to enhance agricultural investments by and with young agri-entrepreneurs. Empowering youth to engage in the agricultural sector is vital to creating livelihood opportunities, achieve food security and stimulate economic growth in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries.

Globally, there are an estimated 1.8 billion young people between 10 to 24 years old. Of these, approximately 90 percent live in the developing world, and mostly in rural areas. Yet often, rural young people are poorly understood in research compared to more ‘visible’ groups, such as urban youth, particularly in Western countries. 

This is of special concern to research partnerships such as CGIAR, because young people play critical roles in rural households and environmental transformations, but their interests are often inadequately addressed in programs and policies. However, as a significant social group now and in the future, their aspirations, dreams, opportunities and the particular challenges they face in rural areas deserve to be studied and understood in their own right.

A Kenyan from the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) in Kenya was declared the 2017 global climate launchpad Award winner beating fifteen other finalists from across the globe.

In a grand ceremony held at Limassol, Cyprus, Boniface Jiveri of BioAlkanol Gel also bagged 10,000 Euros an equivalent of 1.2 million shillings and further received acceleration services from the Climate-KIC Accelerator whose mission is to unlock the world’s clean tech potential that addresses climate change alongside the prestigious award.

More than ever, African youth have to overcome a long and hard journey to enter the labour market. Out of 11 million young people entering the job market in Africa every year, only 3 million end up in formal jobs and all do not have quality jobs.

Today, about 420 million African young people are between 15-35 years of age.

It is coming up to three years since Green Shoots Foundation held their first teacher training, or Training of Trainers session, in Samrong town, Odar Meanchay Province NW Cambodia. Part of their Agriculture Skills in Public Schools (ASPUS) Project.

I first arrived in Samrong in October 2013. It was small, nondescript and dusty- however; in just a few years it has become one of the most beloved locations on my travel calendar.

With the average age of farmers worldwide rapidly increasing, attracting youth to agriculture becomes a hot topic. But how can we turn this not-that-“sexy” sector into a desired career path for youngsters? According to SoilCares Foundation, a Netherlands-based NGO, the key is introducing innovative technology for agriculture. The Foundation works closely with the SoilCares company and Rabobank Foundation in distributing a Soil Scanner on the Kenyan market.

Improving food security one scan at a time

The Green Shoots Foundation has been running the Agriculture Skills in Public Schools (ASPUS) program since 2014. Recently, the Foundation organized a range of focus group discussions with secondary school students to evaluate their activities thus far and gain insight into how young people in rural communities feel about pursuing a career in agriculture.

“When exiting one of the focus group discussions, I glanced at Ratana, the Executive Director of Green Shoots Local Partner, and he had a look of amazement on his face,” said Muneezay Jaffery, Green Shoots Foundation Operations Manager. “He was pleasantly surprised by the thoughts shared by the students. For him, it was an affirmation that we are on the right track with future work in this part of Cambodia.”