A new study that includes participants from CFTC-supported programs shares farmers' perspectives on food systems. This includes the voices of youth - the next generation of farmers in Africa.
We believe that children have a right to healthy food, and that starts with a thriving community. Our partners in Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia are helping youth develop the critical skills they need to redevelop strong local food systems that feed everyone.
Much like in Indigenous communities in Canada, our partner communities in African countries once enjoyed strong food systems and successful farming livelihoods. Over centuries though, they have faced structural issues like poverty, climate change and inequality that have created food insecurity for so many.
Farmers with a wealth of agricultural knowledge that they’ve inherited from generations before them are now unable to rely on their livelihoods to feed their families well. Some youth growing up in these communities feel like they cannot follow in their elders’ footsteps - they must find another way to make a living. But with some big changes in the farming system, youth can succeed in farming - and we can help.
What farmers say about the future of farming
Local youth and other farmers in Ghana and Uganda, including some community members in our programs, recently took part in a study on rural food systems by Global Affairs Canada, Farm Radio International and others. You can read the full report here.
Researchers asked participants what future they see for youth in agriculture. Here’s what they said:
- 35% said children will struggle to succeed in farming in the future unless things change
- 26% said young people will farm but will need to earn money from other sources as well
- 10% said young people should avoid farming and pick another occupation
Youth, particularly young men, were most likely to say that young people will need to earn money from other sources to make a living.
Young people need support to succeed at farming
So, what changes will help youth succeed?
- Land - all rural farmers, but especially women and youth, need access to land to grow crops.
- Market access – Youth want to be able to market their crops to earn a sustainable living.
- Education and training – Farming is a complex skill, and youth want the opportunity to learn from experts.
- Access to capital – Women and youth have an especially hard time accessing capital to grow their farming businesses.
By addressing these key areas, young people can begin to contribute more to local food security and sovereignty. Their farms will not only feed children and families, but also improve the local economy and revive the strong local food system that previous generations enjoyed.
How your support is helping
Through CFTC supported programs like school and community gardens and large projects like CLIMATE and SHINE, young people in Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda are gaining the tools they need to move into farming if this is their goal. From a young age, children are taught the basics of growing food through home and school gardens, which supplement their diets and provide their parents with extra income.
If they want to pursue farming as they grow up, they can access village savings and loan groups, farmer field schools and cooperatives through donor supported programs. This helps youth access land, education, inputs, training and markets to help them build thriving agricultural businesses.
The SHINE project is funded by the Government of Canada along with donations from CFTC supporters, and is helping to boost food security and gender equality for over 560,000 community members in Ethiopia and Ghana.