Young people, farming and food: an international conference debates research findings and policy options
In Africa, policy interest in linking young people to agriculture focuses almost exclusively on the challenge of keeping young people in rural areas and engaged in farming. This approach ignores important drivers, trends and developments that are impacting on both young people’s aspirations and the structure of the agrifood sector.
In the coming years the agrifood sector in Africa will undergo significant transformation that will result in both challenges and opportunities for young people, depending on who and where they are.
Perhaps most importantly, the agrifood sector will become an increasingly important source of formal employment for young people, with a significant expansion of employment opportunities in food marketing, processing, retail, catering, research, input sales etc. These jobs will generally require higher levels of education and different skills, and many will be located in or near urban areas.
With this context in mind, the conference on Young People, Farming and Food which ran from 19th March and till Wednesday 21st March, 2012 examined research and policy perspectives relating to:
- Current thinking about effective approaches for how young people can engage with the agrifood sector in Africa (as producers, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers and citizens)
- How the agrifood sector is changing (due to technology, urbanization and economic growth) and the implications for young people to be involved in processing, marketing, retail, input supply, research, etc.
- Alternative approaches for the development of the agrifood sector and implications for young people taking into account young people’s interests, goals and aspirations
Journalism competition - winners announced
In the run-up to the conference, the Future Agricultures Consortium ran an Africa-wide journalism competition on young people, farming and food. There were over 40 submissions, and the panel judged the pieces on the following criteria:
1. Creative angle; 2. Concise; 3. Style; 4. Voices/quotes used including young people
Winners were: James Karuga, Kenya (print), Geoffrey Onditi, Kenya (audio)
Second place: Vivian Nereah, Kenya (print), Audrey Wabwire, Kenya (audio)
Runners-up: Isabella Akinseye, Nigeria (print), Nicholas Waithatu, Kenya (print)
Image credit: Panos
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