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Consultas electrónicas abiertas del HLPE

Re: Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems - HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the report

Heiko Bammann
Heiko BammannFAOItaly

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for sharing the well developed and extensive draft V0 with us. Before providing some comments and responses to the questions you have provided, I would like to refer to the comments made by John (Weatherhogg). The point me makes about meaningful, practical and empowering agriculture schools and technical training centres is an excellent one and a challenge for many of us. One experience, how this has been and still is done successfully, I would like to share below. It is a case from Fiji, the Tutu Rural Training Centre:

http://www.tutufiji.com/about_us/

For anyone who wants to read more about it, please see this report:

https://pacificfarmers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Tutu-Rural-Trainin...

There are many lessons that can be drawn from this example. One to start with: the approach applied has to match (be based on) the cultural and economic situation found in a country or region.

Below the some direct comments and links to more information and references to be considered for the respective report sections. The review has been supported and comments provided by Ms Claudia Scuriatti of the ESA-SMART team.

Apologies for running late. Hope the comments and information provided is useful for the report.

Kind regards,
Heiko

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How can you contribute to the development of the report?

This V0 draft identifies areas for recommendations and contributions on which the HLPE would welcome suggestions or proposals. The HLPE would welcome submission of material, evidence-based suggestions, references, and concrete examples, in particular addressing the following questions:

1. The V0-draft is structured around a conceptual framework which presents three fundamental pillars for youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems (AFS): rights, agency and equity.   

Do you think that this framework addresses the key issues affecting youth engagement and employment in AFS? 

Yes, from our country experiences, we would also suggest emphasizing:

  • Limited youth involvement in policy dialogue
  • Youth have limited access to and therefore make use of productivity-enhancing inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.

2. The V0-draft identifies main trends for youth engagement in agriculture and food systems, focusing on employment, resources and knowledge.

Do you think that the trends identified are the key ones in affecting outcomes with respect to youth’s engagement in AFS and broader FSN outcomes? If not, which other trends should be taken into account?  

In particular, can you offer feedback on the following:

Where are youth currently under- and over-represented in food systems employment/work? How does this change when considering intersectional categories such as gender, place, ethnicity?

I would say that youth under and over representation in food systems changes depending on the crop/commodity we look at and the country involved. From the findings on the Coffee value chain in Uganda, it appears that youth are underrepresented at the production level due to lack of access to land, and in formal distribution(wholesaling) and aggregation. Youth are generally more involved in casual work and activities at processing and transportation stages. Link to the publication : http://www.fao.org/documents/card/fr/c/CB0413EN/    Also, initial findings from an ongoing work on youth sensitive value chain analysis in Rwandan horticulture suggest that although women participation in horticulture is similar to men, women are more represented at harvesting, sorting, and packaging.

How has digital technology, agriculture 4.0 and automation affected youth employment in AFS? What is their likely impact in the coming decades?

On one hand, digital technologies such as IoT, blockchain, e-commerce and social media can attract youth in agriculture. The adoption of cutting-edge technologies to agriculture can improve/ change the negative perception that young people have toward agriculture. By using innovative apps both young women and men can contribute to on-farm and off-farm activities in different way and perspective compared to their parent's generations. Especially, in the COVID-19 context. There are different cases in which ICT products in the farming sector attract young people. For instance, youth are involved as crop doctors, using apps to diagnose plant disease (https://plantix.net/en ), or as tractor sharing service providers through apps (https://hellotractor.com/) or also managing risks in agriculture such as droughts, pests, and diseases through apps (https://agripredict.com ).

On the other side, there is a risk of increasing the digital divide between urban-rural areas. Digitalization doesn’t happen in a vacuum and requires institutional support to improve digital literacy and build the regulatory environment to protect users and make sure that we all have the same opportunities.

3. Employment

What can make i) farming/fisheries/livestock rearing and other forms of food provision and ii) other roles in the food system a more attractive option for youth employment?

Integrating traditional practices with modern innovations such as apps, e-payment, etc. Need to raise awareness of the employment opportunities that the sector can offer to young men and women. Youth should be able to understand that agriculture can be a profitable business. For instance, services and input provisions could be a profitable business for youth.

Also, it could be worth working on the negative images/perceptions that older generations have on youth and on their willingness to hire youth.  To do so, internships programs, on-the- job trainings could be very helpful to show youth what kind of job they could find in AFS and to demonstrate employees that youth can be reliable hard workers.

8. Are there any major omissions or gaps in the V0-draft? Are topics under-or over-represented in relation to their importance? Are there any redundant facts or statements that could be eliminated from the V0-draft? Are any facts or conclusions refuted, questionable or assertions with no evidence-base? If any of these are an issue, please share supporting evidence.

1. In regard to Chapter 2, perhaps, it could be worth expanding on the negative perception of youth toward the agricultural sector together with the reluctance of employers/ value chain actors to hire and work with youth. We had noted in the current work on youth-sensitive value chains in Rwanda that at the wholesale level, for instance, employees are unwilling to engage with youth since they are considered unskilled and untrusty. Also, it would be worth digging deeper into why agri-food systems are not attractive for young men and women. What kind of services are they looking for? What services/infrastructure is the agriculture sector missing to provide needed by young women and men? Further reflections on these aspects could be relevant to section 1.3 Youth aspirations, imagined futures, and opportunity structures.

2. I suggest to add the following to Box 4: Youth organizations :

3. I would suggest to add CURAD incubator (https://curadincubator.org/ )  to the Box 2: Online “matching” platforms.