The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has called on countries to generate job opportunities for young people in the agricultural sector.
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, stated this at the end of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa held from 19 to 23 February in Khartoum, Sudan.
The conference focused on the theme of creating decent and attractive employment in the world’s “youngest” continent in terms of the average age of its population.
“Agriculture will continue to generate employment in Africa over the coming decades, but businesses around farming, including processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, marketing and financial services, could also create jobs for young people, especially those in rural areas,” he said.
According to the FAO Director General, there was demand on urban food markets due to more people moving to cities, which in turn could generate job opportunities in all agriculture-related activities.
“More than ever, strategic partnerships are needed to bring together the African Union, the African Development Bank and the UN system and other development partners, FAO believes that more must be done to create non-agricultural employment in rural areas, including agro-tourism and other services.” Mr. Graziano da Silva said.
He however warned that more profitable urban markets could lead to a concentration of food production in large commercial farms, and also the creation of value chains dominated by large processors and retailers.
“In this contest, smallholders and family farmers need specific policies and regulations. This includes providing access to inputs, credit and technology and improving land tenure,”
He added, that social protection programmes, including cash transfers could link public food purchase to family farmer’s production.