Youth, agribusiness, COVID-19 and the climate crisis. Join us on June 18 for our webinar exploring how all these complex elements are coming together.
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The coronavirus pandemic is a global emergency affecting all countries, requiring immediate and sustained international action. While mitigating the terrible human and economic toll worldwide is of priority, it is important to take into account the underlying problems this emergency exposes, especially for those most at risk for severe health-related consequences—older people, poor households, the undernourished, and those who live in remote rural areas without access to basic services or support.
These problems heighten the risks of the current pandemic and must not be neglected. Disruptions in agricultural value chains and markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are severely affecting rural livelihoods, especially of the self-employed and wage workers. Due to lockdowns and movement restrictions smallholder farmers and agribusinesses especially youth-run enterprises are unable to sell their produce or access inputs, while seasonal and migrant workers are no longer generating income and need to return to their areas of origin, with ripple effects on their households. At the same time, countries in Africa are currently dealing with climate shocks such as raging floods, conflict, acute food insecurity and hunger threat from the invasion of desert locusts.
Young rural people are among the most vulnerable groups, already facing higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, and overrepresented in the informal economy (40 percent more likely than adults to be in casual work arrangements). Most earn their income on a daily or weekly basis and have little or no access to health insurance or social security. Rural youth are at high risk to disproportionately suffer both from the pandemic and its aftermath.
A survey conducted with young Kenya agripreneurs by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows how this pandemic is already affecting young people and their businesses. In addition, climate-related catastrophes such as floods and the desert locusts have compounded the problems facing the most vulnerable populations especially the rural youth. We need to make sure rural youth are included in the response to these crises. It is not all doom and gloom as it is emerging that several young people are implementing innovative ideas to address the current food availability crisis using various digital platforms.
It is against this background that the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), 2SCALE, FAO, AgriProFocus, the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and Practical Action are hosting a webinar on June 18, 2020 on the nexus of youth agripreneurship, COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
The outcomes of the discussions will inform the future advocacy, policy, programming and fundraising work of the organizations behind this initiative, to enhance the protection of young workers and entrepreneurs in the agri-food system from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as climate shocks.