Plateforme de Connaissances sur les Chaînes de Valeur Alimentaires Durables

Promoting FAO’s Youth Sensitive Value Chain Analysis and Development Guidelines – A young practitioner’s experience


At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO Guyana recently partnered with IICA to host a Gender and Youth Symposium as part of activities that led up to World Food Day 2022. Through this partnership youth and gender activists, agribusiness entrepreneurs, government technicians, and academicians gathered to dialogue about challenges and opportunities in the agriculture sector.

The discussions at this forum were centered on the perspectives and interests of these two important stakeholder groups that are often underrepresented in the various agriculture sub-sectors of Guyana. FAO was asked to present on possible policy options and/or strategies to address the lack of youth participation in the sector and as the in-house Gender and Youth Focal Point, I had no hesitation about participating.

The audience easily identified key constraints that they face as actors in the agri-food system and with the panelists’ inputs, general solutions were broached, namely, the need to promote gender equality through knowledge sharing and capacity building and strengthening the economic empowerment of women and youth. As a budding Value Chain Development Specialist, I was keen to appeal to the youth on the tremendous possibilities and fulfillment of participating in the food value chain. However, being a young person myself, I am cognizant of the challenges and entry barriers in certain sectors. Against this backdrop I contemplated making an intervention that was solutions-oriented on a process level and that could also demonstrate practicality. I was hearkened back to a presentation on Youth Sensitive Value Chain Analysis and Development Guidelines from colleagues in the DRET and ESP teams in June 2022.

Referencing analysis from my work from the projects, Sustainable Development of Resilient VCs - Implementation of CARICOM COVID-19 Agri-Food Recovery Plan and FO4ACP Programme, I conveyed the bottlenecks along some specific value chains such as, brackish shrimp, small ruminants, and soursop from the former and related the real-life experiences of farmers who are benefitting from the latter intervention. This painted the narrative of the opportunities and weaknesses within current sub-sectors and alluded to the gaps and potential entry points for youth and women value chain actors.

The Youth Sensitive Guidelines were highlighted as a vehicle to systematically address long-standing barriers to youth inclusion in agriculture, which persist for varying reasons including rurality and/or cultural norms. The guidelines served to demonstrate how practitioners and activists can move from business-as-usual analyses to a more tailored approach that centers the priorities and concerns of youth.

Attending the Symposium was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, who echoed the calls for gender mainstreaming throughout agriculture and implementing long-terms solutions to the deep-rooted challenges discussed. In her remarks, she lauded the intervention proposed by all the Panelists including the work of FAO in Guyana.

The reactions among researchers from the University of Guyana and Technicians within the Ministry, who were in attendance, was the obvious usability of the Guidelines and one participant made mention of applying this type of tool to operationalize policy such as CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 Initiative to reduce the food import bill. Youth actors who are pursuing careers in agribusiness and entrepreneurship were particularly intrigued by the Guidelines and have asked for more information about their use and inquired about FAO piloting them closer to home.

As I grow my skillset in value chain development, I am always looking for resources on the state of the art to ensure that my work yields benefit for the most vulnerable. Having revised the Youth Sensitive Guidelines, I have recognized the opportunity to apply them to my line of work to yield a deeper level of analysis and derive meaningful results.

Source: Jefferson Jaikissoon
Langue: English
Localisation: Guyana

The News Thème de l'élément d'actualité:
Produits: Non-Commodity specific
Thèmes: Youth equity