As you prepare for the future, it is only natural to engage the new generation. That's the World Farmers’ Organization 's belief. This international organization of farmers for farmers is defining its Strategic Framework 2018-2028 and walking the talk in involving young farmers into giving directions to draw the way forward.
Not only does WFO put its members center and forefront as the driver of it actions but also, they recognize the role and the specific challenges the young people hold in shaping a sustainable future for themselves and the world over.
This is why a group of young farmers, representatives of the different WFO’s members gathered in Rome this October.
FARMINNOUTH, a session in parallel of the CFS at FAO headquarter was organized to promote the critical importance of young farmers in the agricultural sector. It discussed the role that finance, education and innovation may have in strengthening youth engagement in agriculture. Representatives of the different stakeholders in the agricultural sector shared their perspectives and generated lively exchanges of ideas. Read more about this event here: How young generations get ready to fight planet’s challenges for a more sustainable future? as well as this blog post from one the young CFS’s YPARD social reporters: Let’s make Farming Famous.
Later, a Young Farmers’ Forum was organized at WFO’s headquarter. This one day event focused on determining those youth challenges and opportunities WFO’s strategic directions would address. Young Farmers were invited to come with clear ideas on the outcome they would like to achieve as members of the World Farmers Organisation. An outcome document was elaborated based on these discussions and will inform the directions of the Strategic Framework.
The WFO’s youth members identified and discussed several aspects critical to their farming activity, that present both challenges and opportunities. These aspects include creation of an enabling environment; generation renewal; institutional capacity of the youth; farmers’ social promotion; access to equal opportunities; access to finance, credit, input and insurance; access to knowledge, innovation and information; access to market and value chain; access to education; and access to land. It was fascinating to observe that young farmers’ issues are the same all around the world.
YPARD, as a multi-stakeholder network of young professionals for agricultural development was invited to take part in these discussions. We were able to provide inputs on the mechanisms of working together as a youth group, to gain a stronger united voice in our differences and be heard by policy makers. In addition, because we unite young farmers to researchers, policy makers, the civil society, the private sector etc, we contributed to broadening the perspectives on how other stakeholders are part of the equation and can help support young farmers’ objectives and needs.
For us, it was a key opportunity to meet young farmers, who are not yet represented enough within our world-class network. We met ones who are passionate about their work and who were also able to critically discuss their challenges as young farmers. We hope to feature several of these passionate and insightful young farmers on ypard.net. This will respond to the concerns expressed by the team on the necessity to inspire more young people to the sector by showcasing success stories and build pride around farming as a viable professional career path.
Finally, we hope to keep exchanging insights and lessons learned on ways to build stronger inter-generational bridges. We are eager to build upon the YPARD mentoring pilot phase, particularly, which includes several models of online and onsite mentoring.