YOUTHS IN AGRICULTURE
The global population is expected to increase to 9.9 billion by 2050, this level represents an increase of more than 25% from 2020, with youth (aged 15–24) accounting for about 14 percent of this total. While the world’s youth cohort is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth – particularly those living in developing countries’ economically stagnant rural areas – remain limited, poorly remunerated and of poor quality.
The world must act fast to recognise the agricultural sector’s potential to serve as a source of livelihood opportunities for rural youth, for this to happen we have to deal with the following 6 Principle challenges identified by the study jointly undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) are as follows:
Inadequate access to financial services
Insufficient access to knowledge, information and education
limited access to markets
limited involvement in policy dialogue
limited access to land
Difficulties accessing green jobs
Partnerships For SDGs
To meet its goals in rural development and how to bring young people into the agriculture value chain, FPI has become a family of Global Peace Lets Talk, a 4 per 1000 initiative, the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition and the New Hope Foundation Global Network. Some of these organisations work with youths across the world
Youths & Technology in Agriculture
The world is realizing that there is a great need for farmers and that we need young people to become farmers. The rural-urban migration in the developing world has created a large strain not only on governments but also on public infrastructure. Many urban areas are ill-equipped to handle the influx of people searching for work, stressing resource allocation, housing markets, and social welfare programs. Yet, agriculture can provide young people with an opportunity to move out of poverty, if they are properly supported by decision-makers and by the policy.
ICTs present a unique solution of connecting young farmers to opportunities in agriculture in order to create a more knowledgeable and better-supported community. ICTs have unintended benefits,
Internet access centres built near farms have become hubs for young people to go online, connect, and socialise with other young, local farmers. These projects are working. Today’s rural farmers have vastly different farming realities than those of previous generations, and supplying them with current information enables them to be better decision-makers.
ICT goes beyond providing education, connecting and creating a community of young farmers who work smarter and who work together for the good.
Farmers Pride International believes that addressing the 6 principal challenges that have been identified by three global INGOs will prove vital to increasing youth’s involvement in the agricultural sector and ultimately addressing the significant untapped potential of this sizeable and growing demographic. In developing countries, in particular, facilitating the youth cohort’s participation in agriculture has the potential to drive widespread rural poverty reduction among youths and adults alike.
While these challenges are complex and interwoven, a number of key conclusions can be drawn from the case studies: ensuring that youth have access to the right information is crucial; integrated training approaches are required so that youth may respond to the needs of a more modern agricultural sector; modern information and communications technologies offer great potential; there is a distinct need to organize and bring youth together to improve their capacities for collective action; youth-specific projects and programmes can be effective in providing youth with the extra push needed to enter the agricultural sector, and coherent and integrated response is needed from policymakers and development practitioners alike to ensure that the core challenges faced by youth are effectively addressed.
Indeed, a coordinated response to increase youth’s involvement in the agricultural sector is more important than ever, as a rising global population and decreasing agricultural productivity gains mean that youth must play a pivotal role in ensuring a food-secure future for themselves, and for future generations
The global population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, Farmers Pride International sees itself as part of the solution in the challenges coming with a growing population. The number of young people (aged 15 to 24) is also expected to increase to 1.3 billion by 2050, accounting for almost 14 per cent of the projected global population. Most will be born in developing countries in Africa and Asia, where more than half of the population still live in rural areas (UNDESA, 2011). Rural youth continue to face challenges related to unemployment, underemployment and poverty.
Despite the agricultural sector’s ample potential to provide income-generating opportunities for rural youth, challenges related specifically to youth participation in this sector – and, more importantly, options for overcoming them – are not extensively documented.
Furthermore, statistics on rural youth are often lacking, as data are rarely disaggregated by important factors such as age, sex and geographical location.
The agricultural sector is seen as crucial to addressing the disproportionately high levels of youth unemployment, underemployment and poverty. Not only is the sector of vital importance to rural economies worldwide – and particularly in developing countries – it also possesses significant untapped development and employment creation potential.
SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
It is widely documented that education is key to overcoming development challenges in rural areas. Not only is there a direct link between food security and the education of rural children, but it has also been shown that basic numeracy and literacy skills help to improve farmers’ livelihoods (FAO, 2007). Youth’s access to knowledge and information is crucial for addressing the main challenges they face in agriculture.
Farmers Pride International believes that in order for rural youth to shape agricultural policies affecting them directly, in terms of access to markets and finance as well as green jobs and land, they need to receive appropriate information and education.
While this is true in developed and developing countries alike, it is of particular concern in the latter, where young rural inhabitants may lack access to even the most rudimentary formal education, and where educational institutions are often less developed.
Formal primary and secondary education can provide young people with basic numeracy and literacy, managerial and business skills, and introduce youth to agriculture.
Meanwhile, non-formal education (including vocational training and extension services) and tertiary agricultural education can offer youth more specific knowledge related to agriculture.
ICT's IN AGRICULTURE
Farmers Pride International takes the integration of ICT into agriculture as an added advantage if one is to attract youths into that sector.
Importance of ICTs in Agriculture:
Traditional methods of agricultural practices and extension have been followed in developing countries for years. Development has been there, but the information gap has also been huge. Information and Communication Technology with its potential of getting a vast array of information to the farming community and stakeholders in a more timely, comprehensive and cost-effective manner has got its own advantages –
ICTs are easily accessible by the farming community compared to traditional methods of contacting the extension personnel. It is also important to keep the extension mechanism updated all the time about the recent developments in agricultural fields.
Decision-making process: Sound decision-making is based on the availability of comprehensive, timely and up-to-date information which can be transmitted best using ICTs.
Efficient feedback system:
The feedback from the end-user becomes more efficient through the ICTs – be it mobiles, computers, the internet or other inventive concepts like innovative radio programmes and also community radio initiatives can help to decentralize the extension to be more effective, efficient and sustainable.