Can agriculture create job opportunities for youth?
This blog by the World Bank reviews whether agriculture can provide job opportunities for youth. First, undoubtedly, the share of farming jobs is shrinking. As countries urbanize and incomes rise, food expenditures decline as a share of total spending and farmers take up jobs off the farm. Yet the process can only be sustained if labor productivity in farming increases, through innovation in production as well as better access to markets to sell the surplus. ICT is helping with both. Some opportunities are further emerging within the urban areas themselves. Many farming jobs, have been created in urban centers and even megacities maintain their urban farming as an important part of the economic system. But most new and good jobs are to be generated down and up agricultural stream. With the demand for aggregation, storage, processing, logistics, food preparation, restaurants and other related services becoming increasingly important, many employment opportunities will emerge off the farm, in the larger agri-food systems. While the majority of youth expresses to see its future outside agriculture, many good job opportunities on and off the farm remain in agriculture. The challenge is to make the agricultural sector and its up and downstream activities competitive through innovation, public investment in supportive rural public goods and services, and secondary town development to make them sufficiently attractive to young and older farmers alike.