Photo: Gian Betancourt (CIAT)
Youth Engagement in CSA
The integration of youth as a distinct demographic in agricultural production is increasing becoming an important focus in securing the future of agriculture under a changing climate.
Youth age varies widely across countries, but generally includes those between 18-30 years old. The proportion of youths living and deriving a livelihood from agriculture is declining. This is more so for young men than women, leading to an increase in numbers of a labor force composed of young women in agriculture. However, gender and social barriers under which these youth women operate are prohibitive under a changing climate. Other factors contributing to low participation of youth in agriculture including: the perception of agriculture as largely subsistence in nature; lack of climate-smart agricultural knowledge, information and education; lack of a conducive, environment-enabling policy; lack of production factors, including land, credit, insurance, and inputs; unfriendly agricultural value chains; and lack of mentorship to encourage youth to pursue agriculture.
Research areas for youth and CSA includes:
- Capacity development: Disseminating climate-smart agricultural technologies to youth requires the use of novel information and communication technologies (ICT). This will offer exciting opportunities for CSA knowledge sharing and agro-advisory services (e.g. training and capacity building of youth). Research should thus focus on identifying CSA best practices, contextualized to local conditions and transferred through youth friendly ICT programs.
- CSA value chain: Not all youth living in rural areas are involved in primary production. Research on youth involvement in agricultural value chains, including marketing of produce and post-harvest value addition (storage, processing and packaging) and linkages to private sector and policy is essential.
- Research student networks: The development of various networking initiatives for agricultural research students will help spur youth interest in the sector. Students can use networks to design strategic CSA research agendas and inspire innovation on farms.
Youth Ambassador network for CSA
CSA Youth Ambassadors working through networks and alliances can advocate and raise awareness on CSA among the youth. This peer-to-peer program encourages youths to share and learn from each other, enabling them to make informed agricultural decisions under a changing climate. The CSA Youth Ambassadors Network will also ensure the voices of the youth will be heard, helping to shape CSA research for development.