FAO in Papua New Guinea

FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG urges youth engagement in transforming agriculture food systems

25/08/2021

EU-STREIT PNG joins hands with local communities in Papua New Guinea to celebrate International Youth Day with a message to engage youth in agriculture food systems thereby reducing rural poverty and crime rate. 

Wewak, ESP - The European Union funded Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade Programme in Papua New Guinea (EU-STREIT PNG) celebrated International Youth Day with a reminder to us all that youth power is part of an overall strength of a country, hence they must be engaged as agents of change in the agriculture food systems.

“Building on transforming food systems encompass the entire range of actors and their interlinked value-adding activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, forestry or fisheries, and food industries. Young people in Papua New Guinea are change agents, who contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals, who can cope with changes and contribute to the realization of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s goal of leaving no one behind,” said Dr Xuebing Sun, Programme Coordinator in his keynote address.

He added: “ It is vital to scale-up innovation in agriculture while producing in a more sustainable way for the people and the planet. EU-STREIT programme focuses on youth inclusion as one of the main avenues to encourage youth to take up agriculture as a profession and thereby reduce rural poverty and crime rate. It has been acknowledged that there is a need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life, while integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems through the EU STREIT Programme.  I cordially invite all of you to join hands with EU STREIT PNG Programme to contribute to realization of our common goal of “Increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas in Sepik Region and in Papua New Guinea. I strongly believe that with your talents, innovation, enthusiasm, commitment, and determination, we can make a difference together! Transforming the food systems with your innovation for Human and Planetary health, and for a wealthy Sepik and Papua New Guinea! ”. 

Dr. Sun shared this important reminder and extended his cordial invite to the youth in his keynote address to over 200 youth, men and women who gathered at Sir Michael Thomas Somare Stadium in Wewak, East Sepik Province to celebrate the International Youth Day 2021.

The theme of International Youth Day 2021 which falls on August 12 as promoted by the United Nations is “Transforming Food Systems – Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” and in East Sepik the occasion was celebrated on Wednesday 18.

The purpose of this event was to acknowledge and celebrate transformation of food systems through youth innovation, healthy, sustainable and environmentally safe practice.

Under this FAO-led Programme, the EU-STREIT PNG facilitates youth’s future active participation in agricultural activities, helping them to find an interest and, be prepared to become future agripreneurs, farmers and leaders so that their voices, actions, initiatives and, engagement can be meaningfully recognised.

The event was successfully co-facilitated by the EU-STREIT PNG Gender & Youth Inclusion officers and HELP Resources a local NGO with support from officers from UN agencies, namely International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Development Programme (UNDP).

In his speech, the representative of the East Sepik Governor’s Office, in the person of the Executive Officer Charles Kaprangi challenged the youth and students to refrain from alcohol and drugs.

A Quiz for All on agriculture-related topics,a Panel Discussion by six students from the three selected schools, and a Cocoa Bud Grafting Contest, were some highlights of the celebrations. All three schools were presented with a wheel barrow and gardening tools like rake, bush knife and spades as consolation prizes.

The event helped the students to learn something new outside of the classroom. “I’m really happy to celebrate the International Youth Day with fellow students. It’s really important to us because we’re the future leaders of this country,” said student Ralista Wavewa of Yarapos Mercy Secondary.

The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. As an evidence-based, country-led and country-owned programme, the EU-STREIT PNG focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.

Media Contact: 
Amir Khaleghiyan, 
International Reporting and Communication Specialist, the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme, 
[email protected]