While the narrative around agriculture in Africa can invoke a story of back-breaking labor and subsistence, with agriculture seen as a last resort option for poor, there is a much different story to cultivate. Investing in agriculture growth is 11 times more effective for overall economic growth when compared to other sectors such as mining, utilities, and services. In fact, estimates project that African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. Young people, with their creativity, drive and innovation, have incredible potential to revolutionize the sector and their economies, ensuring safe and reputable livelihoods alongside improved household and community food security. It is imperative that we continue to build a positive, reciprocal relationship in which young people are building a vibrant and innovative agriculture sector and, in turn, the sector offers opportunity for young people to build healthy, bright and safe futures.
In addition to strengthening their economies, young people can contribute to their household and community food security. To do so, Mercy Corps is investing in young people as agents of change across our food security and resilience portfolios. In Liberia and Niger, our food security programs recognize that the nutritional and economic status of adolescent girls is an investment in the future nutrition and well-being of their children and the broader community. That is why we target interventions for adolescent girls through Safe Space programming to ensure that girls, boys, and their families have access to information and the assets needed to support girls to stay in school, to delay marriage and pregnancy, and pursue safe livelihoods. In Ethiopia and Uganda, our systems-based approaches to food security and resilience adapt program activities to ensure young people are developing the capacities needed to pursue demand driven
on-farm production, alternative off-farm or agri-pastoral livelihoods, or off-farm value chain engagement. These programs recognize that young people, in partnership with communities, are key to future community level development.
Our vision is that young people play vibrant and diverse roles across the agriculture sector—accessing safe, profitable and dignified work throughout agricultural markets and value chains; contributing to the food and nutritional security of their communities; leveraging technology to revolutionize the field; and thriving within supportive environments, including their families, communities and markets.