With the world’s population continuing to grow year by year, it is becoming clearer that challenges intersecting with our food system must also be tackled, such as climate change, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and social inclusion. Young farmers and entrepreneurs often have fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to offer, and can be the driving force behind the much-needed food system change. Yet for lack of opportunities and support, an increasing number of young people head for the city in search of a better life, further driving up urban food demand.
Here at Rikolto, we want to harness the potential of young farmers and food entrepreneurs by contributing to an enabling environment for youth participation in the agri-food system. This means:
- Looking beyond farms to whole food systems in the search for meaningful youth employment opportunities, especially in linking urban consumption and nearby rural production
- Supporting young entrepreneurs through agri-food incubators
- Facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration around youth engagement
As a key part of this work, our programmes are aimed at strengthening the skills of young entrepreneurs, encouraging farmers’ organisations to cultivate an inclusive culture that allows young people to flourish, involving rural youth in the development of climate adaptation strategies, and empowering them to incorporate the use of digital tools in family agriculture. Of course, this in no way means bypassing older generations of farmers and entrepreneurs, but rather facilitating intergenerational collaboration.