Are you(th) the key to achieving food security?

on August 17, 2016.


By Jim Leandro P. Cano

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If global agricultural systems remain business-as-usual, one thing is sure to happen: food insecurity. To address this, youth have a crucial role to play.

A common issue being discussed in the field of agriculture, of which I am a part of, is that farmers are aging across the world. However, so much time is used to talk about the problem yet most of the projects do not focus on addressing the issue. I say this with confidence after attending three different international conferences on agriculture and hearing the same thing consistently (i.e,. APAARI Regional Consultation in Bangkok, Thailand, 2015; 2nd Asian Irrigation Forum, ADB, Manila, Philippines, 2016; 3rd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2016).

To achieve Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is focused on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture, there must be a concrete and deliberate effort from various organizations to bring the youth back to the farm—as farmers, or as innovators in research, extension and support services, agribusiness, and agricultural policy. A paradigm shift needs to take place both in physical and psychological dimensions. Agriculture is and should be treated as a noble profession.

Farmers are aging, and the youth are mostly in the urban areas. Some are starting their own families which will eventually lead to an increased demand for food in the long run. It is high time that we promote the importance of youth in agriculture and tell them that their creativity in coming up with solutions is highly needed in the field of food production. Nothing else can make agricultural systems sustainable except through collaboration between the older and younger generations.

As an advocate of youth involvement in agriculture, our group called Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Philippines, continues to look for ways to promote agriculture to students in basic and higher education. We utilize several tools such as use of the arts, music, ICT, and promotion of agribusiness models, etc. We also advocate to fellow young professionals to take part in promoting agriculture and related fields to youth.

If we are to achieve Goal 2 of the SDGs before 2030, it is of paramount importance that we promote the field of agriculture to students. The kids of today will be the labor force by 2030. They have the greatest potential to come up with solutions that could improve nutrition, and create innovative sustainable agricultural systems.

To young people who may be reading this, you were born for great things. You were born to make a mark. Take this as an invitation and challenge to venture into the field of agriculture and let your creative juices produce solutions that can meet the increasing food needs of a growing global population.

Sustainable agriculture that will end hunger and achieve food security cannot be solved by mere technological research, but also by the participation of youth in addressing pressing problems of global food supply. We need the youth, and the youth need the wisdom of the previous generation. It is time for all generations to work together for a sustainable future.

About the Author: Jim Leandro P. Cano is the Country Representative of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Philippines, and currently the Club President of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Toastmasters Club. He finished BS Agriculture at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), where he currently is pursuing MS in Agricultural Economics. He is also a Teaching Associate at the Agricultural Systems Cluster of the College of Agriculture at UPLB and handles courses related to Community Development, Program Planning, and Participatory Methodologies in Agricultural Systems Research and Extension.

Disclaimer: The view/s expressed in this blog are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asian Development Bank, its management, its Board of Directors, or its members.

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By Jim Leandro P. Cano If global agricultural systems remain business-as-usual, one thing is sure to happen: food insecurity. To address this, youth have a crucial role to play. A common issue being discussed in the field of agriculture, of which I am a part of, is that farmers are aging across the world. However, so […]

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