Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UN Report on Youth and Agriculture

UN Report on Youth and Agriculture

#GS3 #Agriculture and allied activities #Employment issues #GS1 #Youth related issues

Context:  A new UN report on youth and agriculture underscores the urgent need to make agri-food systems more appealing to young people to secure the future of global food security and nutrition.

About the report:

  • ‘Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems’ is a report by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)’s High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on food security and nutrition.
  • The panel provides independent, scientific analyses and advice to the CFS, an inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together on food security and nutrition for all.
  • The CFS is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Highlights of the report:

  • Youth aged between 15 and 24 years accounted for 16% of the world’s population in 2019.
  • Young people were concentrated in Asia, Central and Southern Asia with 361 million youth and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia with 307 million youth, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (211 million youth).
  • Unemployment rates for youth are three times higher than for adults in all regions of the world, and a vast majority of unemployed youth are young women.
  • Food systems are the largest employer: Agri-food systems, if made more appealing and equitable to youth, are a large, untapped reservoir of employment opportunities.
    • Particularly in the Global South, agri-food systems are already the largest employer of young people.
    • Food systems are a complex web of activities involving production, processing, handling, preparation, storage, distribution, marketing, access, purchase, consumption, food loss and waste, as well as the outputs of these activities, including social, economic and environmental outcomes.
  • More Employment Opportunities: Covid-19 has affected labour markets around the world, hurting employment prospects for the youth more than those belonging to other age groups. Globally, employment among the youth fell 8.7% in 2020 compared with 3.7% for adults.
  • The youth engagement and employment in sustainable agri-food systems is simultaneously a goal to be realized and a means for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and of economic well-being.
  • Youth are on the front lines to build the food systems of the future, while also facing significant risks from climate change, social and economic inequities.

Why more focus on Developing countries?

  • Almost 88 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth live, particularly in Africa, where over 70 per cent of youth subsist on $2 per day or less.

The report recommended:

  • Providing an enabling environment for youth as agents of change
  • Securing dignified and rewarding livelihoods
  • Increasing equity and rights to resources to the youth to access, conserve and protect land, seeds and biodiversity, fisheries and forests. Ensuring recognition of their legitimate tenure rights
  • Enhancing knowledge, education and skills, supporting youth-led start-up initiatives
  • Fostering sustainable innovation

Examples of global youth movements promoting rights to land, food and cultural heritage include:

  • La Via Campesina youth movement
  • Slow Food Youth Network
  • Agroecological Movement of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Fishermen’s Pastoral Council
  • Afrika Youth Movement

Indian Scenario

  • Youth in Numbers:
    • The youth (18-29 years) constitute 22% of India’s population, which is more than 261 million people.
    • According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the median age of Indian population is around 28 years in 2021 and will become 31 years by 2031.
    • Hardly 5% of the youth are engaged in agriculture though over 60% of the rural people derive their livelihood fully or partly from farming and its related activities.
    • Clearly, the modern youth are disenchanted with agriculture and are shunning it as a profession.

Related Initiatives:

  • Motivating and Attracting Youth in Agriculture(MAYA Road Map) 2018
    • The road map works on offering the youth a variety of avenues and opportunities for economic growth, social respect and application of modern technologies in farming and allied activities.
    • Roadmap also focuses on paradigm shift from narrow focus on ‘youth as a farmer’ to ‘youth as value chain developer’
  • ARYA (Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture): Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated this programme.
    • To attract and empower the Youth in Rural Areas to take up various Agriculture, allied and service sector enterprises for sustainable income and gainful employment in selected districts
    • To enable the Farm Youth to establish network groups to take up resource and capital-intensive activities like processing, value addition and marketing, and
    • To demonstrate functional linkage with different institutions and stakeholders for convergence of opportunities available under various schemes/program for sustainable development of youth.

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