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As the world’s farmers age, new blood is needed

As the world’s farmers age, new blood is neededAgriculture has an image problem. For the majority of the world’s youth, agriculture isn’t an attractive avenue of employment. Most youth think of it as back-breaking labor without an economic pay-off and little room for career advancement. This week in Des Moines, the World Food Prize has honored and highlighted youth in agriculture education programs.

With an aging population of farmers, it’s clear that agriculture needs to attract more young people. This is a global challenge: half of the farmers in the United States are 55 years or older and the average age of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa is around 60 years old.

The United Nations’ International Labour Organization predicts that, globally, there will be 74.2 million unemployed young people this year, an increase of 3.8 million since 2007. The agricultural sector offers huge potential for job creation and communicating this to youth can radically change their image of agriculture.

Youth across the world are already turning to farming and the food system for careers. Agriculture in the 21st century means more than subsistence farming. Today, young people can explore career options in permaculture design, biodynamic farming, communication technologies, forecasting, marketing, logistics, quality assurance, urban agriculture projects, food preparation, environmental sciences, and much more.

Read the full news on GAIN's website.