Contribution posted on the FSN Forum in West Africa
Youth engagement and employment in agriculture is at the centre of the discussions today to meaning connect our next generation with today's Agricultural development agenda. In Africa, the youth constitutes about 37% of the continent total labor force, but then the young people make up about 60% of the African continent total unemployment rate.
In Nigeria, there are several initiatives, programmes and schemes in Agriculture aimed at making the sector respond to the food production needs of the country, ensure farmers get the benefit of the labor they put into food production and feeding their families and as a source of both domestic and foreign earnings. There is the Agricultural Development Programme (ADPs), There is the Fadama 1, 11 and 111 aimed at strategic engagement in the Agricultural sector, food production and rural development. There is also the National Agricultural Land Development Agency, (NALDA).
Launching of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development underscore its determination to reduce the level of youth unemployment and plans to empower 740,000 market-oriented young Agricultural producers in rural areas under Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
On the other hand, National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (NAAHM) with Agriculture Department of the ECOWAS Commission and Humanitas Global Development has a designed project aimed at introducing a Regional Agricultural initiative tagged at Promoting Youth Agro-Entrepreneurship to increase Food security (PYAEF) for the Young people of the Sub-Region. The Alliance is also working with strategic Alliances in the West Africa Sub-Region to engage institutions and private sector that engages in Land grab and that do not adhere to FAO, and African Union guidelines on Responsible investment in Agriculture.
On the other hand, the concept of the Feed the Future as the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, aimed at transforming lives toward a world where people no longer face the agony and injustice of extreme poverty, undernutrition and hunger no doubt provides the connection for the current discussions promoted through the Global Forum on Food Security (FSN). Also the FSN Forum in West Africa supports policy and programmes by providing a channel for West African stakeholders to contribute to existing initiatives and voice their ideas and concerns on food security and nutrition in the region.
It is therefore on the strength of this process the I feel that the objectives set under the forth –coming workshop to be held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome which includes –
Challenges faced by rural youth aged in making both (current or future) living in agriculture and related activities, as well as in non-agricultural activities in rural areas is imperative for us to review.
The urgent need to identify for the purpose of improved skills development and employment options for rural youth (boys and girls) aged 15-17 in agriculture and the rural economy.
This is fundamental to guaranteeing our future and the future of Agricultural practices and policies. This is the reason our contribution to this discussion is viewed in the context promoting best practices and effectives ways of youth inclusiveness in Agricultural business environmental and engagement.