Climate adaptation and job prospects for young people in agriculture
This brief (PDF) by IFPRI aims for a better understanding of the intersection between climate resilience and youth employment, and where it may be stronger geographically, which is necessary to generate better policy and adaptation options for the future of agriculture and of young people. The world’s population is increasing, creating a pressing need for jobs in places where the youth cohort is growing rapidly. Sub-sahara African economies remain highly reliant on agriculture and structural transformation is slow, but have the most rapid expansion of the youth population. African youth will look to the agriculture sector for both food security and job security. In the coming years, the difference between poverty and a course toward prosperity will depend on successful agricultural adaptation to climate change. Low-income, agriculture-dependent countries with rapidly growing cohorts of young people needing jobs must make significant investments in agricultural science and technology, rural infrastructure, and human capital to generate employment and adapt to climate change. Only if agricultural productivity and output grow rapidly can agriculture-dependent countries outpace the downward pressure that climate change and a growing labor force will exert on wages and earnings. Depending on the magnitude of local climate impacts, higher prices may offer economic opportunities for farmers who have access to resources, information, and technology. A workforce abounding in young people may offer potential in terms of technology and innovation, without adequate support for those young workers, it may still be one that is disadvantaged in terms of adaptive capacity. Success is therefore not a given. It hinges on the realization of the role that agriculture will have to play and a willingness of policymakers to commit to investments and reforms. The number of young job seekers is already high and continues to grow. Considering the time lag in reaping the benefits of agricultural research, the time to act is now.