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FAO introduces digital agriculture to youth in the Syria

20/12/2021

As in many other countries, the agriculture sector in Syria has limited appeal as a source of stable income for youth. The lack of guidance, expert consultation, access to knowledge, training and profitable opportunities have prevented young people from engaging in agriculture. As a result, youth’s impact on one of the cornerstones of Syria's economy is minimal. Yet, there are opportunities to involve motivated young people in the sector to benefit from their fresh and innovative ideas.

Engaging youth in agriculture requires specialized training, access to institutional knowledge, and provision of appropriate financial services. FAO, under its Smallholder Support Programme in Syria, is promoting innovative and entrepreneurial interventions to involve young people in the sector. FAO has developed a program called Nabta (seedling in Arabic), which aims to encourage and assist youth in starting agricultural business

As part of its innovative vision, Nabta is launching a new and unique intervention dedicated to digital agriculture. Digital agriculture is the use of technological solutions, such as mobile technologies, remote-sensing and cloud-based services to promote efficient agricultural practices, streamlining supply chains and reducing operational costs, thereby increasing profits. Young people are more inclined to adopt technology-mediated agricultural innovations than older generations to upgrade farming practices and operations.

“Digital agriculture is a pioneer learning experience for young people in Syria, and today, youth is ready to present innovative solutions to enhance food production,” said Alfredo Impiglia, FAO Chief Technical Advisor in Syria.

This specialized intervention is the first of its kind in the country. FAO has teamed up with Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Damascus, one of the most prominent youth non-governmental organizations. The aim is to assist youth who have a background in farming, agricultural studies, smallholding, as well as information technology (IT) knowledge and experience to shape the future of the agriculture sector.

The young people involved in Nabta will benefit from a comprehensive set of training activities that include online awareness sessions to introduce the concept of digital agriculture and the use of IT within the agricultural value chain. The intensive training will cover four main topics: digital agriculture, design thinking, proposal development, and presentation skills. 

In parallel, JCI, in close collaboration with FAO, is developing a website that will present digital agriculture-related articles, multi-media and resources in Arabic, as well as awareness content developed for the intervention. The website will act as a go-to-guide for young “agri-preneurs” looking to improve their production using the diverse and accessible IT solutions at hand.

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