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.