Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said that young people in Africa would benefit from an increase in jobs within the agriculture sector, particularly in rural areas
Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said that young people in Africa would benefit from an increase in jobs within the agriculture sector, particularly in rural areas.
The senior United Nations official was addressing a regional conference on employment in Sudan, held on February 19-23, 2018, when he stated that creating jobs in farming, including processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, financial services and marketing, would generate and boost employment in Africa over the following decades.
Graziano said that strategic partnerships were needed now, more than ever, to bring together the UN system, African Union, African Development Bank and other development partners to create more jobs in agriculture, particularly for the youth.
He warned, however, that greater profits within urban markets could lead to a concentration of food production in large commercial farms and the creation of value chains dominated by big retailers and processors.
The FAO Director-General added that family farmers and smallholders needed specific policies and regulations, such as the provision of access to inputs, credit and technology, and an improvement in land tenure, and the implementation of social protection programmes, including cash transfers to link family farmers’ production to public food purchase.
The FAO’s Regional Conference for Africa focuses on the theme of creating appealing and quality employment within Africa, which is the world’s “youngest” continent in terms of its population’s average age.
It is estimated that up to 12 million jobs need to be created annually over the next 20 years to absorb new entrants to the labour market.
Around 54% of Africa’s work force relies on the agricultural sector for income, employment and livelihoods.
With a rise in urban migration and growing city population, the demand on urban food markets is set to grow and can lead to more job opportunities in agriculture-related activities.
The FAO has said, however, that more needs to be done to create non-agricultural employment in rural areas, for example, in agro-tourism.