FAC Future Farmers has launched a programme of research on youth aspirations for 2010-11. African rural youth have experienced significant changes in their economic, social and cultural contexts over the past few decades. Globalisation, urbanisation and migration, as well as fast evolving communication and media technology, connect them more than ever to the outside world. Inequalities resulting from under-investment and slow growth, especially in the agriculture sector, are increasingly visible to people living in rural areas.
Meanwhile, school enrolment and women’s economic activity levels are on the rise, while HIV/AIDs and violent conflict are changing demographic profiles. Such changes have no doubt had a profound effect on young people’s aspirations and expectations for the future, and consequently on their life choices and opportunities. In turn this has important implications for the future of agriculture in Africa.
To understand how youth aspirations are changing and what this means for African agriculture, FAC will carry out empirical research in a variety of contexts, seeking answers to some of the following questions:
- What are the aspirations of rural youth, set within a context of a rapidly ‘globalised’ world? Do aspirations vary with rates of agricultural growth?
- To what extent are aspirations related to eventual outcomes? What are the implications for current policies and practices related to rural development and agriculture?
- Are things different for young men compared to young girls? How has the feminisation of agriculture affected youth aspirations and expectations?
- How important are young people’s visions for the future of agriculture? Do they indicate underlying motivations of farmers of the future?
- How likely are these to play a part in creating opportunities in rural areas, developing the agriculture sector and rural areas more broadly?