To continue to feed a growing world population, we need to increase global food production. This appears though at odds with a number of seemingly insurmountable environmental and socio-economic challenges. This is particularly true for Africa, a region hit most strongly by climate change and yield gaps against a backdrop of poverty, migration and conflicts. How thus can we innovate agriculture and drive sustainable intensification?
A key component in forging change is youth, owing to their readiness to adopt new ideas and technologies. However, youth interest in agriculture has hit an historical low. Agriculture is seriously uncool. Young adults associate agriculture with stagnant traditions, lack of opportunities and poverty. Migration to overfull cities as well as migration outside the region are the result. This problem is internationally well recognized, and to reverse this trend, there are many ‘youth in agriculture’ initiatives aiming bolstering youth interest in agriculture, unlocking the potential that is implicitly there and that can bolster youth engagement: underdeveloped value chains and markets offer potential for growth, yield gaps imply yield opportunities; stagnant practices offer openings for innovators and innovations.
Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) co-organized the Global workshop. It aims to surface key educational, societal, technological and political drivers and tools to increase engagement of youth in agriculture. We wish to identify how we in Sweden can contribute to this, also for the sake of our own Swedish agricultural development: how we can support opportunities for developing agribusiness and agricultural production, backstop rural-to-urban youth hemorrhage, and in this process close the yield gap and propel opportunities for developing innovative sustainable practices.
The workshop’s stage will be set by short talks from representatives of organizations and businesses (IGAD, Sida, businesses, NGOs, SWEACC, SLU), interspersed with Q&A discussions. Further group and panel discussions will be used to sculpt ideas around key tools and actions that can be employed to increase youth agripreneurship and agribusiness, and how various stakeholders in Sweden can contribute to this. Salient points that come up during the workshop will be distilled and further worked out into a policy document for use in setting strategies (in government policies, institutional documents, business initiatives, NGO policies etc) that support initiatives in the above area (for which the organizers welcome input!).
Aims and Target groups
This workshop aims to inspire various stakeholders to engage in supporting and equip youth in agriculture, with as motto the SDG ethical imperative: no-one left behind. We aim to create global linkups global youth agripreneurs initiatives for business development and technology transfer with a sustainability perspective. We further hope that workshops such as these can also help bridging the entrenched views on production versus sustainability and academics versus practice. This obviously needs input from all sectors including education, business, government and civil society. We particularly would like to welcome youth interested in agriculture and global agribusiness to this event.
The workshop should lead to several representatives to contribute to a policy document following points that come up during the workshop.
Time and place
The workshop will be held on the 8th of May 2017 from 09:00-16:00 at Sida's headquarters in Stockholm.
To stimulate student participation, the travel costs for a limited number of students will be covered. Visit the link here for online application.
Picture credit: SIANI and SLU