Future of food : shaping the food system to deliver jobs
This paper (PDF) from the World Bank focuses on how the food system can deliver jobs and provides a framework for understanding the factors that determine the number and quality of jobs in the sector. The paper also highlights a set of actions that countries can adopt, adapt, and apply to their own circumstances to strengthen the food system’s contribution to employment. The food system extends beyond farm production to include food storage, processing, distribution, transport, retailing, restaurants and other services. The paper finds that the food system employs the most people in many developing countries in both self and wage employment, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In many countries the off-farm aspect of the food system accounts for a large share of the economy’s manufacturing and services sectors. While the employment share in farming tends to decline as per capita incomes rise, the share in food manufacturing and services tends to increase. The authors find that more can be done to strengthen the food system’s contribution to jobs by supporting growth in food value chains, ensuring that policies and investments improve the quality and quantity of jobs, and facilitating the inclusion of more women and youth. Increasing the number and inclusiveness of jobs will require attention to food system growth, employment intensity, and inclusion of youth and women. Urbanization and per capita income growth offers significant new opportunities in non-cereal products and in new jobs in the food system beyond the farm. Inclusion of women and the growing number of youth into food system jobs can raise productivity and improve social harmony. Priorities vary by country and context. Different combinations of interventions will be needed in agriculture-dependent economies compared to transforming or urbanized economies; in land abundant compared to land scarce environments; whether “pull” or “push” factors are leading to movement of people out of farming in particular areas; and on the initial nature of skills deficits. Creating jobs for a new generation of workers while sustaining and improving the quality of employment of the billions of people already working will be a significant challenge for all sectors.