The positive action of young people in rural areas will be promoted as one of the tools for tackling the major challenges faced by agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean.
San Jose, Costa Rica, October 9, 2014 (IICA). A series of proposals have been put forward to bring about positive generational change in agricultural organizations and increase the participation of young people in rural development. They include strengthening networks of young people and promoting dialogues to raise the group’s profile and increase its interaction with decision-makers.
The recommendations were made in a meeting convened by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at which representatives of academic and agricultural entities from seven Latin American countries agreed to promote a mechanism for dialogue among young people designed to generate solutions to the challenges facing agriculture through knowledge sharing and innovation.
The meeting also agreed to expand the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) platform in Latin America and the Caribbean, with support from the Alliance of Agricultural Information Services (SIDALC) and universities in the U.S. and Brazil.
“The dynamics of rural territories include an implicit social component. As long as there is a difference in the quality of life in rural and urban areas, our young people are going to migrate from the country to the city in search of new opportunities,” observed the Director General of IICA, Víctor M. Villalobos.
In his opinion, a change in the mindset of sector stakeholders is needed to meet the challenges facing the agricultural sector. Those challenges include increasing production and enhancing competitiveness to feed a growing global population, producing more on the same amount of land, making efficient, sustainable use of natural resources, and undertaking actions to adapt agriculture to climate change.
“Young people are more receptive to change. We need to discuss how we are going to support those changes and develop a new profile of agronomists, of rural professionals, of producers who are keenly aware of the challenges that we face,” Villalobos suggested.
The agreements taken at this first forum and the information generated in the coming weeks will be used to draft a proposal for hemispheric or regional projects aimed at spurring the development of the skills of young people in agriculture.
The participants in the meeting included delegates from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB-MIF), YPARD and national entities that support young people, such as ministries, secretariats and academic organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay and the U.S.
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