‘COP 27 set stage for youths’ participation in agriculture’

Elton Manguwo

THE 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference that was held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt last month may have come and gone but left a rich legacy of knowledge on climate change and agriculture that youths are tapping into to boost their participation in farming.

Commonly referred to as COP27 the event has provided youths with a platform to gain critical knowledge that will enable them to contribute in climate change mitigation, agricultural transformation systems, food security and sustainable agricultural production.

Chief programmes coordinator with the agricultural youth desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Mr Nickros Kajengo said the conference provided a huge opportunity for youths in Zimbabwe and abroad to share notes and ideas to play their role in promoting agricultural development.

“The Agriculture Youth Desk coordinated a series of events aimed at mainstreaming global youth participation in agriculture on the backdrop of key recommendations and lessons learned from the side events at the C0P 27,” said Mr Kajengo.

The country’s demography is made up of 60 percent youth, which represents a large number of the productive population.

Mr Kajengo observed that the youth had a key role in ensuring food availability throughout the year and meeting the expected demand, which can only be achieved if young people are productive and mainstreamed in agricultural programmes.

In addition, the conference stressed on the need for Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) and modernisation of agriculture to be made a priority for Government funding.

The advent of climate change, which threatens sustainable production and food security gives rise to the need for building resilience in the food production sub-space

“Governments should establish climate change smart agriculture institutions backed by the establishment of innovation hubs where young people are trained on sustainable agriculture and climate change,” said Mr Kajengo.

Furthermore, agricultural knowledge remains a key pillar in terms of the climate change movement, which makes the promotion of knowledge and innovation in agriculture, climate issues and water management critical.

One of the recommendations at COP 27 was the need to correct the poor branding of agriculture and perception of agriculture as an unattractive career option for the youth.

“Agricultural education introduced vast programmes aimed at attracting youths to it and also making sure that students and the youths are provided with various farming skills for entrepreneurial growth and self-reliance,” said Mr Kajengo.

The agriculture sector is considered strategic in terms of high employment opportunities since most production systems are labour intensive, hence all the efforts to develop an enabling environment for youths’ participation at all levels of the agriculture value chain.

Mr Kajengo said lessons from the conference stressed the need to address the issue of replacing the regime of ageing farmers with youths to guarantee continuity in agriculture.

“The average age of a farmer in the sub-Saharan Africa including Zimbabwe is 55 years against a life expectancy average of between 55 and 60 years,” he said.


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