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Agriculture needs fresh and inspiring voices

Leadership is essential in different areas of human life and society. Given the importance of the agricultural sector to the welfare of humanity, it needs leaders with special knowledge, expertise, abilities and skills: qualities that many young people have.

During the annual session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), we talked about different issues related to global food security and nutrition. All countries agreed we need to move from plans on paper to tangible actions. Climate change is a reality and its effects are visible all over the world. These effects range from extreme weather to changes in rainfall patterns, and extreme heat waves and droughts. Effects that are expected to be more intense in the coming years.

Agriculture is a key sector in the sustainable development agenda. A healthy and dynamic agricultural sector is an important foundation for rural development and essential for poverty alleviation since global poverty overwhelmingly affects rural communities.

Agriculture is essential for food security. Feeding a growing population is one of the challenges that the world faces, with the population expected to rise to 9.1 billion by 2050. It is imperative that we find ways of increasing food production and food quality.

So, how are we facing these challenges to the agricultural sector? How are governments working to transform their policies into tangible solutions? How are civil society and rural communities involved? And how are young people participating?

From my perspective, we need a new kind of leadership. Specifically, we need the younger generation involved in agricultural leadership.

Agriculture needs fresh and inspiring voices. Young people are full of creativity and energy. Their engagement in agriculture is important to inject new ideas and innovation into the sector. Young people can discuss agricultural challenges and find new alternatives to improve world agricultural development, and decision makers and stakeholders need to hear their voices.  They can help generate new pathways to achieve sustainable agriculture and they can influence other young people to take up the shovel and improve agriculture.

But there are some challenges to overcome before that can become a reality. Denis Kabity, a young agricultural professional, was one of the speakers at the World Farmer organization’s event on Famers, Innovation and Youth. He said young agricultural leadership will be possible only if the voices of youth are represented and heard. Young people in agriculture also need to have access to knowledge, information and education, land, financial services, jobs, markets, and they need to be engaged in policy dialogue.

We need to make agriculture more appealing to the new generation; more “sexy”. Many young people in developing countries depend on farming as their primary source of income. Others prefer to migrate to urban areas looking for job opportunities and a career. The challenge and responsibility of our generation is to create the conditions that encourage youth to get involved in agriculture while also providing them with the resources and opportunities for success.

#CFS43 was an important opportunity for me to learn more about food security and nutrition, policy, governance, and youth. I saw, firsthand, the new young agricultural leadership represented by many young people here. Some of them are leading inspiring farming projects in their countries, others are working for the public and private sector, and others were representing organizations and the governments of their countries.

The future of agriculture is in the hands of this new leadership generation.

Find the original blogpost on the CFS website.

This blogpost by Gipsy Bocanegra, #CFS43 Social Reporter - gipsy.bocanegra@ttu.edu is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and represents the author’s views only.

Photo Credit: UN