The issue of youth engagement in the agricultural sector strikes the heart of a very difficult issue. In the Pacific region, youth unemployment is significant. Coupled with low economic growth, limited job creation and opportunities in the formal sector for youth, the engagement of young people in the agricultural sector would seem a solution for many. Yet the contribution of agriculture to GDP is less than 3% in most Micronesian countries, less than 10% in most Polynesian countries, and less than 20% in most Melanesian countries.
In 2008, ministers for agriculture called for ways to support young people to take up careers in agriculture. In response, the Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy 2011–2015 was developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and endorsed by the ministers in 2010. The Pacific Youth Development Framework (PYDF) 2014 – 2023, tackles how to move forward from a strategic framework towards action, in environments with scarce resources for large-scale programming.
This policy brief draws on these and proposes a set of action-oriented steps to advance the formulation of an agricultural policy that aims to maximise youth potential to serve Pacific communities.
Increasing the participation of youth in agriculture could be an important means of improving food security, youth livelihoods and employment in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). High rates of rural-urban migration, high levels of youth unemployment, ageing farmer populations and increased dependency on imported food prompted the Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) and its Secretariat, the Land Resources Division (LRD) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the SPC Human Development Programme to examine the role played by different actors in helping young people to participate in agricultural activities and enterprises. This was emphasized as an issue requiring urgent attention by governments, non-governmental organisations, regional agencies and development partners during the meeting of ministers and heads of agriculture and forestry in Apia, Samoa in September 2008.
Climate Change & Development (CCD) Community, of the Pacific Solution Exchange Consolidated Reply.
Query: Engaging Youth in Agriculture and Forestry Experiences; Advice.
Compiled by Jacqui Berrell, Community Facilitator, and Finau Domonakibau, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pacific Centre Issue Date: 24 June 2013
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community‟s (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD; www.spc.int/lrd), is working on two youth projects. The first focuses on how best to engage and involve youth in agriculture and the second investigates ways youth can use Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones and social media, to develop agricultural opportunities for youth.
Firstly, in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) ACP-EU (African, Caribbean and Pacific - European Union), SPC-LRD is in the process of facilitating a project on „Promoting Coherent Multi-Sectoral Youth in Agriculture Policies in the Pacific‟. A key element of this project is documenting and sharing experiences, case studies and lessons learned on best ways to engage youth in agriculture. SPC-LRD plans to share these stories via a portal and through printed and electronic publications to assist people who work with youth and agriculture (including youths), to further implement some of the recommended actions and initiatives from the „Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy‟ report (http://www.spc.int/lrd/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=678&Itemid=396).
Complementing that project, is the CTA funded „Agriculture Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society‟ (ARDYIS) initiative that also promotes youth and agriculture in ACP countries, but with an emphasis on how social media and other ICTs may be used to develop agricultural opportunities for youth. This includes how youth may develop IT platforms or mobile applications for agriculture, or in other ways to improve their livelihoods. This project will also seek experiences and lessons learned for youth and agriculture relating to ICTs.
Thus, your shared experiences, stories and case studies from this PSE query will assist both projects.
Specifically, what are some ways to engage youth in agriculture programs?
• Are youths interested to learn about agriculture? How may social media and other ICTs be used to engage or educate them, such as training young farmers to better manage their agri-business? • What youth in agriculture activities or groups and programs exist in the Pacific? For such programs, what challenges do we face in engaging youth and how do we overcome these? • Do you know youths who are developing software or mobile applications for agriculture?
Experiences may be specific to agriculture or youth projects, or relate to whole-of-community programs or to other program areas such as development, climate change, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) or Management (DRM), renewable energy, gender or any other topic given it‟s likely we can transfer the stories, lessons learned, social media and ICT innovations, into practical applications for youth and agriculture approaches.
Your responses will assist SPC LRD to collate these valuable experiences to help with both their projects and, ultimately, to help people working with youth and agriculture in the Pacific.
Reasons for the study:
The study is the result of request from the Fiji Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). There were a number of reasons behind this request:
Prepared by: Andrew McGregor, Livai Tora with Geoff Bamford and Kalara McGregor
Published by the Marist Rural Training Center.