Future Agricultures Consortium to fund research in young people and agrifood
3/22/2012 8:13:14 PM -
The Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) will be providing funding support for research projects geared towards establishing a much stronger research base to inform policy around young people and agrifood in Africa.
This is in line with the goal of FAC's co-hosting of the international conference on 'Young People, Farming and Food' with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana.
Researchers and other partners at the Accra dialogue presented diverse papers which, according to FAC's Jim Sumberg, 'would be mould into a more coherent body of research and evidence'.
Concluding submissions by conference participants centered on innovative approaches to transform the profitability of agriculture for the smooth transfer of the agrifood sector to the next generation.
'The present generation who are running the agrifood sector is going to die out and unless it is replaced by the younger generation, the sector will collapse', noted agrifood consultant Mike Mortimore.
For him, the role of governments to is to create incentives for people to find opportunities for themselves autonomously in the economy as a whole, including agriculture.
Ben White, a retired professor of rural sociology shares the view but cautions against 'the rush to transfer everything to the younger generation because what are the older people then going to do? We mustn't leave them out but the thing is you mustn't exclude the younger generation'.
The relevance of young people's involvement in agricultural policy and programmes has been pronounced for the future of agrifood to be progressive.
Dolf de Lintelo of the UK's Institute of Development Studies (IDS) believes the youth in Africa can assert their rights in policy decision making processes by being able to organize collective actions.
Young Esther Kihoro from Kenya's Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) has been inspired by thoughts shared at the conference and she is determined to be among those pushing for change through harnessing indigenous knowledge of older farmers and new ideas and ICT application of the younger generation.
'What we're going to do now is to take the outputs and the papers, the questions and so on and reflect on them a little bit and then work with all the different researchers and out partners to build a research programme that will help policy makers by providing them much stronger policy relevant research base', stated Jim Sumberg.
FAC is based at the UK's Institute of Development Studies as a multidisciplinary and independent learning alliance of academic researchers and practitioners involved in African agriculture.
The consortium aims to encourage dialogue and the sharing of good practice by policy makers and opinion formers in Africa on the role of agriculture in broad based growth.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/Luv Fm/Ghana