This member participated in the following discussions
Policy framing and policy responses to the ‘problem’ of these young people and agriculture in Africa is hampered by a lack of theoretically and conceptually sound research and evidence that is contextually sensitive. Most national surveys do not explicitly separate those 15-17 but bundle them together in the 15-19 years age group in the adolescent bracket (for SRH projects). It is therefore important that analyses from agricultural surveys e.g. the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) tailor make some questions for this age bracket, for targeted interventions. The interventions for this age bracket with regards to accessing decent work may vary geographically depending on the economic status of a country. For example, most rural youths aged 15-17 years in Malawi will have dropped out of school and entered into wedlock and had children, while in South Africa they would still be in school and getting a social grant if they (girls) had a child. While some have argued that agricultural transformation is the key to reducing poverty in sub Saharan Africa, some have argued that higher education levels have the greatest impact. In Malawi entrepreneurship in agro-products can provide career options for young people by unleashing their economic potential.
PhD Finalist: University of Pretoria, Institute for Food, Nutrition & Well Being. South Africa
I am a concerned Malawian. Despite the country being donor infested; where civil servants receive meagre salaries, and a majority of rural people food insecure for almost half of the year, I am not sure which scenario is most applicable, maybe 3 with reservations. First of all, realistically, Malawi is one of the poorest nations of the world, with 47% of children stunted (food insecure) (MDHS, 2010). With 52% of the population, and high martenal mortality rate, and fertility rate (highest in SADC), scenario 1 is very unrealistic. Which brings me to the point of consulting the grassroots, smallholder farmers and the rural poor in such discussions. I am not sure who the respondents who came up with the 4 scenarios were; but there is a tendency of not consulting the rural poor, wo are the culprits of hunger and poverty; look at the 2011 Nutrition strategy-it does not address the needs of the rural poor, women (who constitute over 70% of food production) and the youth (who are shunning agriculture and migrate to South Africa or cities, where they become vulnerable to food insecurity. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the ASWAP; they were constructed by architects who did not include the rural poor, smallholders; and how then do the policies transform the population economically through the 6% GDP growth (CAADP)? To sum my point; Malawi does not need an online consultation like this in order to draw strategies or make a case; it needs a complete overhaul; (politicians will continue to be greedy); donors will continue to prescribe programmes the way they want, smallholder farmers, women and youth will continue to be silent (not by choice) in policy framing and implementation, The result is "success stories of fertiliser subsidies in terms of yields, while the population continues to be food insecure at household level; and increasing GDP when the food basket is shrinking!
Food security and nutrition is a complex cross-cutting issue, there is a need for joint efforts of government and development partners in achieving ultimate goals set in these policies and strategies. In South Africa there are efforts in scaling up nutrition through school feeding programmes and food gardens by National government Department s (Health, Education, and Social Development), private sector like Nestle and civil society. There is need for effective coordination across the sectors to define multi-sectorial and integrated approaches to improve nutrition among school children. This can be done by strengthening linkages between nutrition and agricultural, education, social protection, water and sanitation and addressing issues of food fortification and food safety.