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October 19th, 2016

Young people and agriculture in Africa: A review of research evidence and EU documentation

Published by IDS,

This report (PDF) by IDS presents the results of a desk-based study to assess the available research evidence in relation to African young people’s engagement with agriculture, and to analyse how this evidence is reflected in current European Union (EU) policy and programming in Malawi, Ethiopia and Kenya, three of the 89 countries in which Alliance2015 members work. With the aim of stimulating constructive dialogue and debate with the EU and member states in Europe and in countries in Africa, the study sought to address four main questions: 1) Are rural young people in Africa turning their backs on agriculture?; 2) What does the research evidence say about young people’s attitudes toward and engagement with agriculture?; 3) How is this evidence reflected in Europe’s current policies and programming in the selected A2015 countries?; and 4) What alternative approaches to policy and programming are suggested by the evidence? The research finds that young people do not figure prominently in the EU’s policy and programmes in Malawi, Ethiopia and Kenya. It will be important to reflect on whether, how and in what situations the EU’s strong orientation toward economic growth, market-based approaches and broadly applicable principles and frameworks are appropriate in relation to the structural transformation agenda. Furthermore, the authors state that the available evidence provides no clear answer to the question of whether an increasing proportion of young people is turning their back on agriculture. Although, many studies point towards the opposite direction. They suggest that further research along these lines should be a high priority as it would be very beneficial to understand much more about how different groups of young people in different rural areas imagine their futures, and their strategies for moving toward those imagined futures. The relatively strong evidence around the research–technology–productivity nexus and issues around access to land suggest that youth should continue to be a central focus, even though they cannot (and should not) be framed or justified as a ‘youth specific’ policy or programme focus. There is a strong argument that until and unless the deep structural issues that are at the heart of these chains are addressed successfully, much of the more youth-specific programming will remain largely irrelevant.

Curated from ids.ac.uk