The future of rural youth in developing countries
This study (online version) of OECD aims to shed light on the potential of local value chains to create more, better and sustainable jobs for rural youth in developing countries. Rural youth are turning their backs on small-scale agriculture, yet a growing local and regional demand for food represents a unique untapped opportunity. The question for policy makers is therefore how to make rural youth the drivers of more productive and environmentally sustainable agri-food activities that respond to changing consumption needs and provide them with decent jobs aligned with their expectations. Rural youth constitute a socially and spatially diverse group that often faces the double challenge of age-specific vulnerabilities and underdevelopment of rural areas. Agriculture and food processing represent an untapped reservoir of opportunities for rural youth. Local and regional food demand is rising, but integrating rural youth into local value chains remains largely unexploited. Most youth in agriculture are in production, not downstream activities of the value chain. Investing in local agri-food value chain development could become an engine for job creation and food security. Local food processing is compatible with relatively low level of skills possessed by rural youth and is more likely to remain located in rural areas. Additionally, it can create strong linkages with other (non)food system activities. There are a number of policy priorities to create and enabling environment to harness the potential of rural youth through food systems anchored in local value chains: 1) Promoting local value chains as engine for job creation and food security; 2) Linking rural and urban development using a territorial approach; 3) Adopting comprehensive approach to rural development; 4) Exploiting opportunities in markets; 5) Investing in agriculture and rural infrastructure; 6) Greening and diversifying rural economies; 7) Applying social and environmental safeguards; 8) Raising voices of rural youth in policy dialogue; 9) Providing skills development for rural youth.