The High-level Panel Discussion on Promoting Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship, 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.
High level panel on youth agri-entrepreneurship in the Pacific: the way forward
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.
Lessons from programmes aimed at advancing youth entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector
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, the 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.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through innovations in sustainable agriculture. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
Headquartered in Rome, Italy, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$18.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 464 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialised United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub. In support of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), through its nominee AFRACA – The African Rural and Agriculture Credit Association, IFAD Co-Chairs the Finance Thematic Working Group and regularly participates in AGRF related sessions, workshops, programs related to the improvement of access to finance in Africa by smallholder farmers.
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. Much of our focus is on major cross-cutting issues, such as climate change, disaster risk management, food security, gender equality, human rights, non-communicable diseases and youth employment. Using a multi-sector approach in responding to our members’ development priorities, we draw upon skills and capabilities from around the region and internationally, and support the empowerment of Pacific communities and sharing of expertise and skills between countries and territories.