Active involvement of youth in agriculture is necessary for sustainable agricultural systems but is currently a challenge in many areas. Under the framework of the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Dryland Systems, YPARD, Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) set out to carry a study on the realities, perceptions, challenges and aspirations of rural youth in dryland agriculture in the Midelt province, Morocco. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative participatory research methods, this study analyses rural youth’s realities, perspectives and aspirations in dryland Agricultural Livelihood Systems (ALSs) in the Midelt Province, Morocco, with a particular focus on gender.
The data collected is an important first step in understanding the target group and working with youth to identify and develop appropriate programmatic interventions to improve their livelihoods and rural futures. Prior to expressing their aspirations for their rural life and career, the youth first raised the issue of unfulfilled primary needs: access to education, potable water, heath care, and lack of infrastructure in their villages. The issue of outmigration from rural areas is controversial and not so widespread. The youth’s dream village is envisioned as a rural place where people have a more comfortable life with their own families, farming better and more sustainably rather than seeking a job in urban areas. In a nutshell, to support the drylands youth’s aspirations and their willingness to stay in agriculture, there is a need for infrastructural and regulatory interventions and specific training in agricultural practices targeting and engaging youth.