Young farmers achieve together!
Young farmers achieve together!
On 15, 16 and 17 May the Annual General Meeting of AgriCord takes place.
Around 100 representatives of farming organisations, young farmers, agri-agencies and multilateral institutions from all over the world will come to the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam for the event. From a young coffee farmer from Kenya or FAO programme officer from Rome, French farmer to the chair of the Asian Farmers Association; they will all be there.
European Commissioner Phil Hogan and Dutch Minister of Agriculture
An important element of the programme is the discussion of Task Force Rural Africa’s consultancy report, which contains recommendations for future collaboration between the European Union and Africa. This report was an initiative of Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture. In a panel debate on 16 May, he will engage in discussions about employment opportunities and economic development of the African and European countryside with Carola Schouten, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and various young farmers from Africa and Europe.
AgriCord supports Farmers Organisations to boost youth employment
The Task Force Rural Africa proposed the rural agenda for the New Alliance of Africa and Europe. Kees Blokland, board member of AgriCord and member of the Task Force, states “A comprehensive partnership on three levels, society, business and governments is needed to boost youth employment in the continent. This achieves an economic transformation that increases productivity and income for billions, respecting natural resources and mitigating climate change.”
AgriCord is an initiative of 14 professional farmer organisations and their cooperative businesses from countries in the European Union, Canada, Africa, Latin America and Asia that have established agri-agencies, bundling their efforts for strengthening their colleagues in developing countries. The AgriCord alliance yearly supports more than 600 farmer organisations worldwide, ranging from dedicated local farmer associations, over national cooperatives with strong processing capacity up to regional networks with lobby functions. Since its foundation in 2003, AgriCord has become one of the major players for strengthening capabilities of farmers organisations and agricultural cooperatives via a network of farmers’ experts and leaders.
AgriCord realises worldwide around 1000 farmer-to-farmer exchanges missions per year. In 2018, 2500 farmers of the constituency farmers’ organisations were actively involved in these exchanges. Of them 30% were women and 50% of the farmer experts mobilized come from developing countries in the form of South-South exchanges.
AgriCord is committed to enable young farmers of Europe and Africa to make joint plans to make rural areas viable (roads, electricity, internet) to intensify agriculture and to initiate agro-industrial development. Through exchanges between young farmers, new profitable business models are envisaged and piloted to unlock rural creativity by and for youngsters. Careful selection of organisations and persons involved guarantees skills development and intercontinental cooperation with impact. It has proven to boost farmer investments, technology transfer, business to business linkages, whilst improving the organizational strength of farmers’ organisations, policy input and mutual understanding between farmers. Today’s youth is the first generation of farmers to fully realise the necessary evolutions in the face of climate change. Taking climate action in rural areas, for example through reforestation and forest management will be at heart of the joint efforts.
Creating jobs for youth
The African workforce will grow by 800 million people over the next 30 years. Most of them will be young men and women. Generating sufficient jobs and incomes to meet their needs is one of the biggest political and economic challenges of our time. Tapping the energy of its young labour potential for productive employment in agriculture, education and upgraded skills sets across the whole value chain are needed. Agriculture has the potential of a sector with technical dynamism and recognized opportunity.
Agricultural cooperatives and other farmers’ organisations have proven to be an effective mechanism for engaging rural people, in particular youth, in agriculture and increasing social capital and employment opportunities both on and off-farm. Mentoring and peer to peer learning will motivate African and European farmers to innovate and modernize the agriculture as well as spark networks of young farmers and cooperators.
Links to EU policy initiatives
On 12 September 2018, on the occasion of his State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a new 'Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' to substantially boost investment in Africa, strengthen trade, create jobs, and invest in education and skills. The package builds on the commitments taken during the African Union – European Union Summit which took place in November 2017 in Abidjan, where the two continents agreed to strengthen their partnership. It sets out the key strands of action for a stronger economic agenda for the EU and its African partners.
In a similar vein, the European Commission set up in April 2018 the Task Force Rural Africa (TFRA). This group of experts provided advice and recommendations for strengthening the partnership in food and farming and in enhancing the role of the EU in African job-creating economic development in agriculture, agri-business and agro-industries.
One of the suggestions is a Europe - Africa Twinning programme bringing together sector expertise from both continents. Investments alone (AgriFI, ABC Fund,…) are not enough. There is need for capacity development and mentoring on entrepreneurship. This can be best done by farmers, farmers’ organisations and farmer led-businesses themselves. Peer to peer leaning achieves concrete results. It links farmers’ organisations, brings together colleagues, links people’s associations, businesses and public entities.
For further information about this press release, please contact:
Strategic Partnership Facilitator
Rue de Trèves 61, 6th floor, B-1040 Brussels (Belgium)
Phone Mobile + 32 (0) 479 22 89 92
AgriCord vzw (www.agricord-org) is the alliance of agri-agencies