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Young People & Agrifood

Young African Researchers in Agriculture (YARA) network


The rural young population of Africa is rapidly growing and is expected to rise until at least 2040, in a context of rapid change in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The key objective of this network is to promote robust empirical academic work on issues related to agricultural transformation in a number of African countries, particularly in relation to rural young people, in order to inform the agricultural policy processes on the continent.

The YARA (Young African Researchers in Agriculture) network is launched at the UNECA Conference on Land Policy in Africa in November 2014.

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Young people, agriculture and employment

Harar girl with younger brother by charlesfred on FlickrA new working paper from our Young People & Agrifood theme looks critically at programmes aiming to engage young people in agriculture.

The authors argue that programmes must be more realistic, rooted in social and economic analysis, and appreciate the variety of ways that rural men and women use agriculture.

Young people, agriculture, and employment in rural Africa (pdf, 650kb)

Young people, agriculture & work in Africa: new thinking

Young person working on production lineMuch hope is placed in agriculture as a source of jobs for young people in Africa. In a blog post, Jim Sumberg (Young People and Agri-food theme convenor) explores four types of work opportunities. To allow 'transformative' jobs for rural youth, the agriculture sector needs to be fundamentally restructured.

Finding the 'opportunity space' for young people and rural jobs

Ghana-villageOver the last decade, both agriculture and young people have become increasingly prominent on African development agendas. Many have concluded that engagement in production agriculture is an obvious (if not the obvious) opportunity through which to address the problem of limited economic opportunity for young people in rural areas.

According to a new article by James Sumberg and Christine Okali, entrepreneurship-based policy and programmes to address the jobs challenge facing young people in rural Africa need to be much more firmly grounded in evidence and analysis. These are the conclusions of the article, Young People, Agriculture, and Transformation in Rural Africa: An “Opportunity Space” Approach (pdf), published in Innovations Journal.

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Africa's aging farmers?

Family farmersClaims are made that Africa's farmers are getting older. The blame is put on young people's decreasing interest in farm work, lack of skills and access to resources - but are these assumptions, and the policies to address them, based on reliable evidence?

A stronger evidence base on farmer demographics and barriers to entering the agricultural sector is needed.

Further Reading