The voice of youth is an invaluable asset to the agriculture policy development process. The involvement of youth in agriculture and development decision-making at the local, national and regional levels is critical to the implementation of sustainable policies. FANRPAN has since 2001 hosted Annual Regional Food Security Policy Dialogues; these have been a platform that has brought together stakeholder in the agriculture and natural resources arena to dialogue on common issues and come up with policy recommendations.
The FANRPAN 2011 Regional Multi-stakeholder Food Security Policy Dialogue re-affirmed that there are opportunities for youth engagement in agriculture policy development. In November 2011 and 2013, FANRPAN contracted youth consultants to conduct country (Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) case studies on current and emerging youth policies and initiatives with a special focus on links to agriculture. The consultants were tasked with identifying spaces and opportunities for developing national ‘youth and agriculture policies’ within agricultural policies and make appropriate policy recommendations. Findings of these case studies were presented at the 2012 and 2013 Regional Multi-stakeholder Food Security Policy Dialogue. The opportunities are that:
- Vibrant and expanding market for primary and secondary agricultural commodities offers tremendous opportunities for young people to earn good income from agricultural activities.
- There are existing incentives and policies that target youth involvement in agriculture, which encourages young persons.
- Many tertiary training opportunities exist for young persons interested in agriculture.
- Throughout the SSA region, there are a number of existing agricultural agencies that youth can become involved in.
- Encouraging rhetoric on agriculture continues after the hike in the prices of agricultural commodities, the increasing food import bill and the financial crises, which has created a high level of interest in the SSA region in agriculture.
The dialogue showed that for the youth to fully engage in the agricultural value chain and policy processes, they need to be supported and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities opening up in the agricultural sector. Young people are not just beneficiaries of policy interventions, but are also key stakeholders and contributors to developing sound policies and implementing effective programmes. Young people must therefore be major role players in the agriculture value chain to ensure a food secure Africa free from hunger and poverty.
Year Policy dialogues
2013 Climate Smart Agriculture
2012 From Policy to Practice: Advocating for active Engagement of Youth in Agricultural Value Chains
2011 Advocating for the active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain