On International Youth day, we recognize that the goals of our global society cannot be achieved without the meaningful participation of the young. In particular, youth will be critical for addressing hunger along with implementing climate-smart agriculture for the mitigation of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint that comes along with farming practices.
This year’s theme, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” focuses on just that. Given that the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, the United Nations states “it has become recognized by numerous stakeholders that simply producing a larger volume of healthier food more sustainably will not ensure human and planetary well-being.”
At Bountifield, we recognize that the world already produces enough food to feed the planet, but our current food systems suffer from large amounts of postharvest loss and food waste. Therefore we focus on resources and innovations that support smallholder communities to more effectively process their harvest, significantly reducing loss.
Investing in the creation of rural opportunities
With 60% of the population in Africa considered to be under the age of 25, the creativity and capabilities of youth are necessary in the field of agriculture, yet with rural jobs difficult to find, much of this potential labor is migrating to more urban areas in search of employment. Investment in resources and job creation are crucial to provide more opportunities for youth to remain in these rural areas and support the strengthening of agriculture and food systems for sustainable and climate-smart growth.
As the entrepreneurs that we work with continue to grow and expand their postharvest technology businesses, they are creating more jobs available for youth. This includes thresher and sheller operators and transporters to bring the technologies to the farmers for their threshing and shelling needs. Indeed, with the right access to resources and support, the youth themselves can be the agripreneurs that create more opportunities to process, save, and sell more food in their communities.
Job creation is just one of the ways that we can support youth with opportunities but together, we need to do more to make sure we invest in the future of our planet. As we continue to see more effects of climate change impacting agriculture, we need the creativity, energy, and passion of youth to introduce and embrace new innovations. The well-being of our planet will depend on our efforts to support resilient, climate-smart agriculture that will transform our food systems.