More than half of the South Pacific's 10 million population is under the age of 25 years old and a quarter are between the age of 15 and 30. It is expected that the whole population will double by 2050. Presently, the youth labour force (app. 25%) experiences problems entering both the formal and informal labour markets; women are more disproportionately affected than men. For example, in Tonga, unemployment rates are higher among young females (15%) than young males (10%). Annually, 16 thousand highly skilled Pacific Islanders leave their countries for better-paid jobs in Australia and New Zealand.
The first Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy 2011-2015 was launched at the Fourth Regional Meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) in 2010 in Fiji. In December 2013, in New Caledonia, the Third Meeting of Pacific Ministers of Youth and Sport, endorsed the 'Pacific Youth Development Framework 2014-2023'1. The stated vision of which is to create 'a sustainable Pacific where all young people are safe, respected, empowered and resilient'. One of the principal aims is to be a catalyst for investment in youth and support Pacific Island countries to implement their development objectives.
The challenge to implement strategies, that can comprehensively expand job opportunities for young people persists; internationally and in the Pacific region. Progress in achieving significant impact is hindered by the inadequacies in vocational and tertiary education, training and skills development programmes, low education levels and limited access to finance and other investment capital that enable them to actively pursue sustainable and rewarding self-employment. Successful models of youth entrepreneurship exist which can be promoted and up-scaled to attract public and private investments to reduce youth unemployment and under-employment and other societal challenges facing governments and the wider society.
The High-level Panel Discussion on Promoting Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship, to be convened in the framework of the 1st Pacific Week of Agriculture, will explore and draw lessons from various initiatives and programmes aimed at advancing youth entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector. It will explore different perspectives and options for increasing youth engagement in agri-enterprise development. There will be two panels.
Panel 1 will feature successful young agri-entrepreneurs from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific who will share their personal stories, lessons learned, drivers of success and pitfalls to be avoided in setting up and running a successful business. The young farmers, processors, ICT experts, marketers span a wide spectrum of agri-business endeavours. They will also propose actions that should be taken by various stakeholders - entrepreneurs, development partners, national governments, financiers and investors - to support youth enterprise development.
Panel 2 will feature financiers, policymakers and development partners who will share their programmes and future plans for stimulating and facilitating youth entrepreneurship and employment. Senior officials from the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture and other major agencies will respond to the issues raised by the young entrepreneurs. They will discuss the policy and institutional framework that is needed and the technical and financial support which their organisations can provide. They will also explore opportunities for skills development, including mentorship to improve employability, job creation and youth-led agri-business development as well as equal opportunities for young women and men in the Pacific.
At the end of the Panel Discussion, a draft communiqué will be produced which sets out a framework for action involving partnerships between governments, development partners, financial institutions, private sector and young leaders to set up a Pacific Youth Agripreneurship Programme that supports the future pioneers of agriculture-led youth enterprise development in Pacific Island States. The outcomes will be further refined by CTA and partners to develop a regional roadmap with key actions, strategies, milestones and indicators for measuring success of joint implementation of a Pacific Youth Agripreneurship Programme that is able to attract public and private funding.
Youth agri-entrepreneurs from the Pacific and other youth ambassadors as well as development partners, financiers who are interested in collaborating to enable young people to thrive in the business world and contribute to agricultural-led socio-economic development. This session is open to all interested PWA delegates.
Organizers: CTA, IFAD, PIPSO, SPC
Date: 17th of October 2017
Venue: National Congress Centre, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Time: 8:00 – 13:00
|8:00 - 8:30||Registration|
|8:30 - 8:40||Welcome - Michael Hailu, Director, CTA, The Netherlands|
|8:40 - 8:50||Opening Remarks - Hon. Matai Seremaiah, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Vanuatu|
Panel 1: Success Stories from Youth Agri-Entrepreneurs
Moderator: Tuqa, Chief Executive Officer (Acting), PIPSO, Fiji (www.pipso.org.fj)
|Q&A and Plenary Discussion|
|10:30 -10:55||Coffee Break and Networking Session|
|11:00 - 12:10||
Panel 2: Policy, institutions and investment to promote Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship
Moderator: Mia Rimon, Regional Director Melanesia, The Pacific Community (SPC), Vanuatu (www.spc.int)
Panellists of Policymakers, Development Partners, Financiers
|12:10 – 12:30||Q&A and Plenary Discussion|
|12:30 – 12:45||Presentation of Draft Communique - Judith Ann Francis, Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy, CTA, The Netherlands (bit.ly/2ta75Sv)|
|12:45 – 13:00||Concluding Remarks
Director, LRD, SPC;
Regional Director, IFAD;
Vote of Thanks - Kaboua John, Farmer Representative, Ministry of Environment, Lands & Agricultural Development, Kiribati