Manila, Philippines - Agriterra through the USAID-funded Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Coop) project is launching the Youth Leadership Masterclass (YLM) which will be conducted on April 18 – 23, 2022. The event will gather 15 young and aspiring farmers who will be selected to join the week-long interactive program and exchanges with fellow youth leaders and agribusiness leaders in the country.
2019 Rotterdam Youth Debate. Agriterra hosted young farmers from Africa and Europe to present approaches for future collaboration in agriculture between the European Union and Africa.
Youth participation is key to a sustainable future for agriculture and cooperatives. In 2016, Agriterra carried out a survey on the main challenges faced by youth to participate in agricultural cooperatives and the agricultural sector at large. The results showed that youth face barriers in terms of access to finance; access to land; lack of knowledge and technical skills; and having a bad image of the agricultural sector. Agricultural cooperatives must begin addressing these barriers and start investing in young people as farmers of the future who will continue their achievements.
Agriterra believes that investing in young people through capacity building is key to empower them as active partners in agriculture and cooperative development. Youth participation can be a source of innovation, contribute to efficient development, and complement the impacts of aging populations.
Across its global operations, Agriterra strives for at least 50% of its cooperative clients to have active youth councils or similar bodies in place, and that at least 10% of the board members of cooperatives are 35 years or younger. To achieve this, support to clients in the setup and development of youth chapters or youth councils are at the core of Agriterra’s advisory services for cooperatives.
Youth engagement is also embedded in the GROW Coop project which works with successful agri-based cooperatives, federations and other private organizations that are developed into local resource organizations (LROs) and which provide capacity building and agri-business development services to sub-performing (small, micro and medium) agri-based cooperatives. Presently, none of the sub-performing cooperatives have youth councils.
The YLM aims to help form young leaders within the GROW Coop consortium who are empowered and aware of the challenges within and outside their cooperatives. The masterclass will help these young leaders broaden their horizons and come up with new ideas on agriculture, assert their voice, and potentially create new projects, products, and jobs. YLM delegates are also expected to build an active youth council or group within their cooperative.
Maik Voets, Agriterra Business Advisor and lead for the YLM said:
“By 2025, Agriterra aims to train 4,500 youth and establish 30 youth councils globally. The launching of the YLM in the Philippines will contribute to these targets. 57 is the average age farmers in the Philippines. In order to attract young talent to the sector, it needs to provide the youth with space and opportunity for innovation and growth. Farmer organisations have an important role in facilitating this.”
In the Philippines, Agriterra aims to train 1,600 individuals including 250 youth, and establish at least five youth councils by 2025.