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Young People, Farming & Food

An international conference on the future of the agrifood sector in Africa

19-21 March 2012 - Accra, Ghana

Photo: Sven Torfinn / Panos

This conference, co-hosted by the Future Agricultures Consortium and the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), will critically examine:

  • How young people engage with the agri-food sector in Africa as producers, entrepreneurs, employees, consumers and citizens
  • Changes in the agri-food sector and what this means for young people
  • The implications for young people of alternative policy approaches to the development of the agri-food sector.

Presentation slides from the event are now available as links from the conference programme.

Post-conference synthesis

These notes seek to synthesise understandings merging from the Young People, Farming and Food conference held in Accra, 19-21 March 2012.

Full document: Post-conference synthesis (PDF, 86kb)


Despite much praise for the ideal of evidence-based policy in African agriculture, too often the profile of certain “problems” and the imperative to address them quickly through policy, become separated from evidence and understanding. When this happens, policy advocates and policy makers rely heavily on “common knowledge”, anecdote and narrative to develop and argue policy alternatives. Unfortunately this is essentially the position today in relation to the “young people and agriculture” problem in Africa.

While much concern is expressed from both the agriculture (e.g. aging farm population; loss of farm labour) and social perspectives (e.g. unemployment and underemployment of young people; migration to uncertain and risky urban environments), the search for appropriate responses is hampered because of:

  • A lack of analysis that is theoretically and historically informed, conceptually sound and context sensitive;
  • A very weak base of empirical research relating to either the nature of the “problem” or the potential impacts of particular policy responses;
  • A limited cadre of researchers and policy advocates who are actively working on and informed about these issues.

Read the full document: Post-conference synthesis (PDF, 86kb)

Online poll #2: Attracting young people to agriculture

During the Young People, Food and Agriculture conference, we are asking a series of questions on the role young people in Africa play in agriculture.

FAC YPF poll #2

Poll #2

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What helps most to make farming more attractive to young people in Africa?

You can also discuss this question on our blog.

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Young People, Farming & Food: conference blogs

We asked participants at our Young People, Farming and Food conference in Ghana to help document the event by blogging. Here's a list of links to the blogs written by people who attended the conference (except for Lawrence Haddad, who blogged remotely from the UK).

You can also read summaries of the three days in our daily conference newsletter.

Media coverage - Young People, Farming and Food Conference

Media coverage of the Young People, Farming and Food conference includes:


Youth conference newsletters

Conference delegates with the programme

Each day of the Young People, Farming and Food conference we have been publishing a newsletter. It provides summaries and reactions from the day's activities, and updates on our interactions via Twitter and our online polls.

Conference newsletter #1: Monday 19 March

Conference newsletter #2: Tuesday 20 March

Conference newsletter #3: Wednesday 21 March

For more detail and responses to the conference, see articles on our blog and media coverage from the event.

Results of poll #1: young people and policy

During the course of our Young People, Food and Agriculture conference, which is scheduled to take place March 19-21, we are asking a series of questions on what role young people in Africa play in agriculture.

Results from the poll

Question 1: young people in Africa should play a central role in formulating agricultural policy (strongly agree / agree / not sure / disagree / strongly disagree).

Poll #1 results


You can also discuss this question on our blog.

Read more ...