Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Investing in Young People is the Key for Agricultural Development (38)

Post and photos by Massimiliano Terzini (FAO)

“The future of agriculture is in the hands of young people”. It seems like the words of Director-General of Bioversity International, Emile Frison, during Tuesday’s inaugural session of the Share Fair 2011, have not been spoken in vain.

Indeed, during the session on “Partnership with young farmers to promote collective action and entrepreneurship development” the focus was on young people as the key for agriculture development. The main topics were: knowledge sharing, access to agriculture skills and promotion of collective action.

Partnership with young people to promote collective action and entrepreneurship development (38)

During the first part of the session Sintandji Charlemagne presented the Songhai project, which committed to training programs for young people to build and develop their human and technical skills in the agricultural field. Songhai is helping them overcome barriers, like access to market, by creating a network of young farmers in Africa to provide them with their own space to succeed in agriculture. Training is not enough, though; Songhai is also directly engaging with young people to give them a better imagine of agriculture, presenting it as a chance for a successful career.

The second part of the session was dedicated to the project presented to IFAD by the Movement for Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC). George Fernandez, president of MIJARC, spoke passionately about the importance of agriculture, as the key for development and how it is crucial to invest in young people and help them emerging in the agribusiness with pragmatic and feasible projects. MIJARC is engaging in a programme to reflect on how to facilitate access of rural youth to farming activities. The objective is to identify the needs and concerns of young people involved in agriculture all over the world, taking them at the core of development projects and thus facilitating youth access to agriculture activities. The results of this initiative are contributing to the formulation of successful measures and policies, meeting young rural people specific needs. Moreover young farmers and their organizations will gain space for dialogue and will be able to strengthen partnerships with the major actors of the agricultural sector.

Partnership with young people to promote collective action and entrepreneurship development (38)

What came out from this session is the widespread belief of the importance of linking knowledge sharing to collective action, and youth really need to be organized in formalized structure in order to have a chance to succeed. Songhai Centre and MIJARC are going towards the right direction.

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