Empowering youth to engage in responsible investment in agricultural and food systems: Challenges, opportunities and lessons learned from six African countries
This report (PDF) by FAO aims to enhance understanding on the main challenges and opportunities to empower youth to carry out and benefit from responible agricultural investment by giving voice to those most concerned (young farmers, agri-entrepreneurs and workers) an those who support them in Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda. Engaing young women and men in an agricultural sector characterized by an ageing labour force is crucial to ensure sustainable food security, reduce youth unemployment and combat unplanned migration. By harnessing their innvative potential, utilizing new technologies and techniques and taking advantage of new opportunities in emerging value chains, young agri-entrepreneurs could create thriving business and tackle the challenge of feeding a growing population. However, youth are often unable to carry out the investments needed to ensure that their own farming or processig activities can be successfully launced or expanded. Conversely, neither may they be able to benefit from opportunities in agricultural supply chains provided by larger-scale investors. Promoting investment in the agricultural sector by and with youth in these countries could have positive socio-economic impacts because of several inter-related factors. Enhancing the inclusiveness and efficiency of policy processes was one of the main priorities. In particular the need to encourage and strengthen the participation of youth in coordination mechanisms. Further, the policy, legal and regularoty frameworks need to be enhance to empower the youth. At another level, more needs to be done to strengthen acces to some of the servicess and products, such as financial products. Lastely, there are a number of challenges concerning the access to education programmes and opportunities that strengthen agribusiness skills of youth.