World Food Day 2015 (16th October) had been set aside to maximize global food security with the focus on social protection and agriculture – breaking the cycle of rural poverty. With the recent launch of the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs), of which “No Hunger” is the second among the 17 goals, there is a clear indication that world leaders must develop strategies that enhance food security at the local level and worldwide.
In view of this, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) – a youth led environmental non-governmental organization, organized a social media discussion in celebration of this day. The World Food Day discussion was focused on the theme “Ensuring Zero Hunger through Youth in Agribusiness”. The discussion which was organized in collaboration with World Sustainability Forum (WSF) and Tunza Eco-generation, was led by Mr. Joshua Amponsem (Samsung Eco-generation Regional Ambassador).
The tweet chat focused on knowledge sharing on five areas: Zero Hunger – Achievable or Not; The Role of Youth in Achieving Zero Hunger; Agribusiness and How it Alleviate Global Hunger; Challenges Faced by Youth in Agribusiness; Current Innovations in Agribusiness; How to Engage Youth in Agribusiness. With the aim to source innovations, ideas and solutions on engaging youth in agribusiness and how they influence global food security.
International Fertilizer and Development Center (IFDC), kicked off the discussion by assuring that zero hunger is achievable if we unite with government support, training and education, empowering women and youth to see agriculture as a profitable career to accomplish the goal. WSF representative, Matthias Burkhalter, followed up and stressed that zero hunger can be achieved if the UN high level task force, governments and private industries work together. The most important aspect of achieving zero hunger will be a solid, comprehensive and attractive education on agriculture for youth all over the world.
Mr. Joshua Amponsem, then introduced Agribusiness and how it contributes to hunger alleviation by emphasizing on the employment it provides and as well enhancing accessibility of agricultural products for local markets. IFDC contributed that, building agricultural markets ensures that farmers get quality inputs and can sell their products. Increasing smallholder productivity and income for farmers plays a vital role as well. Challenges faced by youth in agribusiness was the next in line and led by GAYO. Capital for start-ups emerged as one of the critical obstacles to agriculture and agribusiness worldwide with specific focus on developing and underdeveloped countries. Upon discussion, it emerged that, favorable investment in youth with interest in agribusiness must come first to make the field interesting and easier to pursue. Women participants also raised concerns on equity with regards to land accessibility and that policies must be made to favor equal access to land and other natural resources.
Other participants, also highlighted on some challenges such as child labor, forced labor, unfavorable working hours, discrimination and insecurity.
Desmond Alugnoa, joined the discussion to emphasize that youth must focus on entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector rather than looking for office jobs. Charlie Turner asked about interventions to counter youth and resiliency in agricultural risk. It was made known that small scale farmers feed more people than large scale farmers and thus they need more attention and technological resources to expand. Creating positive conditions to adjust depleted lands, by providing the means necessary to restore resilience of farming area are as well necessary. The Kenya Market Trust also commented on Innovations in agriculture as part of the answer to feed 9 billion people and youth are responsible for converting thoughts, ideas and creativity into innovations and reality. At the end of the forum, some ideas suggested to help increase food security and achieve zero hunger included family farms, capacity building for small holder farmers, free agriculture education for unemployed youth, smallholder farmers having equal access to markets, incentives such as tax exemptions, for youth in agribusiness.