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Youth and responsible agricultural investments within agricultural food systems

I am Gebhard Eshumba, Senior Youth Officer for Rural Youth Development Programme, Directorate of Youth Development in the Ministry of Sports Youth and National Service in Namibia.

I had great opportunity to participate in the workshop on Strengthening Capacities of Youth to Carry Out and Benefit from Responsible Agricultural Investment in SADC Countries from 20th – 23rd March, 2018. The three-day workshop was organised by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) as implementing partner for the activities. Four (4) SADC countries, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, and Mozambique participated in the workshop and participants from the same country were grouped together to work on the assessment tool for their country.

Rapid Capacity Assessment Tool

The aim of the tool is to help interested practitioners to carry out a multi-stakeholder assessment of existing and needed capacities to engage and empower youth to carry out and benefit from the responsible investment in agriculture and food systems as per respective countries. The tool is designed to support the application of the Committee on world Food System principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and food system (CFS-RAI) with a particular focus on principle four “Engage and empower the Youth”. Other principles were also considered in the development of the assessment tool of each country. The 10 Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems are:

  • Contribution to food security and nutrition

  • Contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development and the eradication of poverty.

  • Foster gender equality and women’s empowerment.

  • Engage and empower the youth.

  • Respect tenure of land, fisheries, forest, and access to water.

  • Conserve and sustainably manage natural resources, increase, increase resilience and reduce disaster risks.

  • Respect cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, and support diversity and innovation

  • Promote safe and healthy agriculture and food systems

  • Incorporate inclusive and transparent governance structures, processes, and grievance mechanisms

  • Assess and address impacts and promote accountability

Dimension of capacity development addressed by the assessment tools

  • The institutional setup for investments in agriculture and food systems

  • Policies, laws, and incentives

  • Organizational capacities to engage and empower the youth

  • Individual capacities to engage and empower the youth

The discussions were full of valuable and enriching information as the Namibian participants comes from different sectors such as:

  • Government sectors: (Ministry of Sport, Youth and National (MSYNS). Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)
  • Educational Institutions: (University of Namibia (UNAM) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST)),
  • Parastatal: Namibia Agricultural Bank
  • Youth Organizations: (Vibrant Youth Empowerment (VYE) and Association for Rural Youth Empowerment and Development (ARYED)
  • NGO: Woman Action for Development (WAD)

Picture 2: Namibian Participants working on the Assessment tool for Namibia 

 The workshop was also an eye-opener for all Namibians, as we were working on the assessment tool, we realize that there are so many things happening in the agricultural sectors and the youth are not fully engaged. We have realized that there lack of coordination and corroborations between different stakeholders that contribute to youth engagement in agriculture. Young people are not involved in some policy development as results they feel left out to participate fully in the agriculture value chains.

Photos contributed by Mercy Moy- ITOCA.