Agriculture is the single largest source of income for rural Africans and contributes to a quarter of the continent’s GDP. The agricultural sector occupies more than 70% of the labor force and contributes to food security and poverty reduction. However, climate change fundamentally and increasingly negatively affects agriculture in Africa. Africa is a youthful continent, and the growing youth population (60 percent of Africans are between 16-24 years of age) doesn’t see agriculture as a profitable opportunity, but rather, regards it as subsistence farming, or a dead end. Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that sustainably increases productivity and resilience, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It combines innovative ways of managing land, water, and soil for more efficient production and resilient systems. Although the approach is gaining momentum at the country and international level, documentation of youth engagement in CSA is lacking. This is mainly due to a number of factors including lack of access to productive resources for CSA and lack of enabling policy environment and platforms for youth engagement in CSA. Therefore, there is need to make CSA attractive and accessible to the youth through using innovate technologies such as ICT.
The African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Service (AFAAS) and the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE) together with Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) will be organising the 3rd AEW conference on the theme of “Scaling up Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA): Integrating Youth, Women and the Digital Revolution”.
The youth have a niche in CSA. As future farmers, they can be involved in designing, implementing and scaling up CSA technologies and practices. This implies that youth need to participate in decisions regarding CSA. In the end, CSA benefits will be more sustainable and provide youth farmers with incentives to adopt climate resilient practices.
The aim of this online discussion which will be led by the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) is to address and tackle emerging issues affecting the youth in CSA such lack of mentorship, training, knowledge management and financing. The online discussion will run from 19th September to 20th October 2017. We encourage discussants to share practical examples or case studies of youths involved in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) at different levels (community, national and international).
Guiding questions for the discussion;
Week 1: Are the youth in Africa interested in CSA? How can we communicate CSA as an opportunity for youth employment?
Week 2: What innovative ways can be employed to make CSA more attractive to the youth?
Week 3: What is the role of female youth farmers in scaling-up uptake and adoption of CSA technologies and practices?
Week 4: How do agricultural extension services assist in encouraging youth to adopt CSA? Do they have an impact?
Week 5: What are the most appropriate tools or approaches for youth to monitor CSA practices?
Target group: Agricultural Extension and Advisory (AEAS) providers from public (Ministry of Agriculture officials especially Directors of Extension from the 40 member countries) and private sectors (e.g. agro-financiers, agro-processors), Farmers, fishermen/folks, farmer-based organisations, NGOs, as well as institutions and programmes actively involved in Agricultural and Rural Development.