Strengthening youth involvement, and competitiveness in agricultural value chains, and market systems
The purpose of this session was to discuss how to strengthen youth involvement in agriculture value chains and market systems for youth economic empowerment and economic development, and was facilitated by Ms. Miji Park, Mercy Corps.
The key issues discussed regarding strengthening youth involvement and competitiveness include:
- Initiatives must be youth-led and youth should be involved at the various nodes of agricultural value chains;
- Encourage the formation of youth groups to capitalize on the benefits of collective action;
- It is important for private sector to be engaged and involved in agricultural value chains in youth programming;
- Use of demonstration farms, role models and agricultural trade fairs as platforms for learning and sharing of skills to promote agricultural production;
- Provision of market-oriented (market driven/relevant) skills development and training to make young people competitive in agriculture;
- Investment in mindset change is important to change the attitude of youth towards agriculture;
- Focus on supply and demand, for example subsidizing agricultural inputs. Caution must be taken to steer away from free inputs as these negatively distort markets;
- Youth focused/youth friendly services for example extension workers that specifically target young people, and youth-friendly financial products and services.
The recommendations for strengthening youth involvement and competitiveness in agricultural value chains and market systems were:
- Investment in Public Private Partnerships in areas like the common user production facilities in communities;
- Collaboration with stakeholders to lobby for policy change on selected and agreed priorities;
- Establishment of agribusiness incubation projects away from subsistence farming towards value added and commercial agriculture.