OpEd: How a focus on youth and women entrepreneurship can benefit agribusiness, livelihoods and create jobs

PUBLISHED: Wed, 26 Sep 2018 12:06:20 GMT

As the impacts of climate change and conflicts threaten progress towards addressing global hunger, we need to apply new thinking in agriculture. Agricultural innovation can strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems and offer adaptation strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

At CTA, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation, we believe that investment in the right innovations in agriculture will help to catalyse development.

Youth, digitilisation and climate resilience are CTA’s priority intervention areas in its refreshed strategic plan, 2018-2020, which, are critical to driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. All three are in line with the The European Consensus on Development, based around the 5 Ps: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have identified youth employment as a key determinant factor for sustainable development. An empowered workforce starts with the engagement of youth and youth organisations. At CTA we have learned how to harness the vitality and spirit of youth. Through our ‘Agrihack’ contests we have offered many young entrepreneurs a step-up to becoming the next generation agribusiness leaders driving change in the agricultural revolution.

Many of these ‘agripreneurs’ bring ICT solutions to age-old problems. In the digitalisation of agriculture, we see smallholder farmers being offered new ways to improve their livelihoods. The implications for productivity, reduction of food waste and even gender equity are enormous and CTA is now considered a guiding force in this area.

Digitalisation is also at the heart of climate-smart agriculture. Many solutions that can help agricultural systems to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change have emerged. The challenge is in the delivery of these solutions to farmers that need them the most. CTA therefore focuses on the development of partnerships to guide the implementation of climate-smart agriculture.

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