Promoting innovation by youth in agriculture & agri-food enterprises

Engaging youth in agriculture and related businesses is an issue being given increasing attention in the agricultural research and development agenda, in view of the growing concern that many young people are migrating from rural to urban areas, leaving behind an aging rural population and agricultural labour force in many countries. This raises serious questions as to who will produce food for future populations.

With most young people – around 90% (ILO 2013) – living in developing countries, where agriculture is likely to provide the main source of income, it is vital that young people are offered education and training in agriculture, have a voice at policy level and in the media, and are encouraged to engage in rural innovation.

Government extension officers and private-sector players often regard young persons as more entrepreneurial and eager to try out or develop new agricultural technologies than are older farmers (ICT4D Effects, 2013).

Prolinnova partners are promoting innovation by youth in agriculture and local agri-food enterprises. Some examples of such initiatives are:

  • Identifying local innovation by youth (through farmer innovation contests and fairs)
  • Engaging youth in Participatory Innovation Development (PID), e.g. integration of PID into educational curriculum, full-course PID modules in Nepal, field visits for students, thesis opportunities 
  • Engaging youth in farmer-led documentation using mixed media.

Prolinnova is joining forces with a USA-based NGO, A Growing Culture, to set up a digital library on farmer innovation, including innovation by young people. We are seeking to involve youth in the documentation process.

References:

IICD (2013) ICT4D Effects: Youth, ICTs and Agriculture

ILO (International Labour Organization) (2013). Table A2, p80 in "Global employment trends for youth 2013: A generation at risk". Geneva, Switzerland.