Decent Rural Employment

Green jobs

New FAO estimates show that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could increase an additional 30 percent by 2050, without significant efforts to reduce them. At the same time, nearly half of the world’s population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture, where informality and precarious working conditions are common.

To respond effectively to climate and environmental stresses, the global agriculture sector is in need of a fundamental paradigm shift towards a sustainable and just transition. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the transition to a green economy is projected to generate over 24 million full-time jobs by 2050. ILO defines, Green job as a decent job that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, by improving energy and raw materials efficiency, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and pollution, protecting and restoring ecosystems and supporting the adaptation to the effects of climate change.

The creation of green jobs in agriculture has the potential to deliver social, economic and environmental sustainability through innovative solutions such as agroforestry, agroecology, climate smart-agriculture, and bioenergy, among others. These emerging sectors provide opportunities for youth and rural communities to contribute to the transition to a just and green economy. 

The role of FAO:

FAO aims to foster sustainable agricultural production systems that will generate more green jobs and decent work opportunities for rural communities. In particular, FAO works to: 

  • Strengthen understanding and awareness on the decent employment prospects for rural workers in the context of greener agri-food systems and circular economy . FAO also collects and disseminate information on environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable, climate-smart agriculture practices to improve natural resources management as well as rural workers’ health and working conditions.
  • Promote the adoption of green agriculture and nature-based activities in agriculture and develop training for rural populations in the use of green agricultural technologies. FAO produces dedicated capacity development materials on environmentally sustainable food production, including organic farming, agroecology and conservation agriculture
  • Support and facilitate the creation of green jobs in the agrifood sector through both wage employment initiatives and entrepreneurship programmes for agripreneurs.
  • Assist the Government in the development of innovative policy solutions that encourage sustainable practices in agriculture with greater returns on labour. An increase in green jobs could foster opportunities in more employment-intensive green technologies; management and preservation of ecosystems; and green and sustainable agricultural research and extension services.