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Young people can guarantee sustainable future of agriculture

FAO report highlights potential of youth for economic growth linked to agriculture

According to the most recent report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The World State of Agriculture and Food 2017 (SOFA, in the acronym in english) it is necessary to ensure a mechanism for young people to remain in the countryside.

Current projections indicate that even 2030 the number of young people between 15 e 24 years should increase by 100 millions, totalizing 1,3 billion people worldwide. And part of this youth lives in rural areas and many of them decide to migrate to cities in search of new life opportunities.

According to SOFA, young people can contribute to harnessing the potential of food systems, generate inclusive transformations that will have important impacts on the eradication of poverty and hunger that affects mainly the inhabitants of rural areas.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) point us in the direction we should go. One of the goals is to eradicate hunger until 2030. We will only be able to achieve this goal if agriculture becomes sustainable, for this we will need the vigor and innovative ideas of youth”, highlighted the FAO representative in Brazil, Alan Bojanic. Growing demand from urban food markets will be a major force behind the urgent and needed rural transformations.. To satisfy this demand it will be necessary to create new jobs in rural economies, a chance for young people who can find ways to grow in agriculture.

Although, for this opportunity to become effective, o SOFA, highlights the importance of policy makers and government officials to understand the socioeconomic dynamics that exist between cities, the peoples, rural areas and the different roles that each actor plays in the food system.

“Ensuring a dynamic agro-industrial sector and the growth of services in rural areas means creating jobs in local economies, especially for women and young people, as there is an improvement in income, there will be support for general achievements in the areas of nutrition., health and food safety”, stressed Bojanic.

Brazilian rural youth conquer spaces and remain in the countryside

Data from the last Demographic Census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE-2010) show that the country-to-city migration rate per year in Brazil, at the beginning of 2000, It was from 1,31% and fell to 0,65% in 2010. Currently the country has almost 30 millions of people living in rural areas.

The increase in the number of people remaining in the countryside has to do, among other points, with the creation in recent years of social public policies and investments aimed at farmers, mainly family producers, in addition to access to state-of-the-art and high-tech equipment and market guarantees.

FAO closely observes the Brazilian dynamics of public policies and has verified that investment in rural areas has allowed many young people to decide to stay on their families' properties and continue the work carried out by their parents..

An example of the incentives is that since 2014, according to federal government data, young people now have greater access to credit from the National Family Farming Program (Pronaf). The number of operations allowed increased from one to three, limit of 15 thousand reais per contract, financial charges of 1% per year and payment in up to 10 years of credit received.

“Brazil has shown that it is possible to breathe new life into rural youth. Armed with knowledge and incentives, we are hopeful that Brazilian rural youth is able to do excellent work in the field and change obsolete agricultural practices and adopt tools and mechanisms for sustainable production, that combines financial return, without harming the environment", these Bojanic.

We've already talked about agriculture sustainable here. The text of this post is original from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and can be accessed here.