Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Ask Ag Sets the Stage for Cracking the Nut 2017

Recently on Agrilinks, experts from Connexus CorporationChemonicsRTI International, and ACDI/VOCA discussed some of the most pressing issues related to how food systems need to adapt as populations shift and grow. The Ask Ag Chat was lively and provoked conversation on topics such as urban agriculture, rural to urban linkages, sustainable practices, and improving access to healthy nutrition. These topics echo what will be featured at the upcoming Cracking the Nut 2017 conference, in Bangkok, Thailand on March 27-28.

Among the many issues and questions raised during the chat, one addressing the role youth can and should play in adapting food systems for sustainable agriculture stood out. A major problem with youth in agriculture is that they are not as interested or as engaged in on-farm production, despite their important role in the value chain and elsewhere. RTI expert Elizabeth Eckert highlighted RTI’s project in USAID/Liberia's Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD). The program is encouraging and teaching youth about the potential careers and promise of agriculture and the multifaceted ways in which farming can be a successful career path. The establishment of a Center of Excellence at leading universities in the country, such as Cuttington University and the University of Liberia, will help to promote agricultural careers and train the next generation of agricultural professionals through modern best practices and hands-on learning.

One commenter, Florence Egal, noted that food security and agriculture can be a major employment sector for youth, while Ms. Eckert highlighted that agricultural entrepreneurs can have successful businesses with highly productive farming systems and multidisciplinary programs that complement agricultural production. Above all, the discussion noted that such programs and encouragement are context-specific and must adapt to the needs and environment of youth entrepreneurship and business. Flexibility and high-value opportunities for short- and long-term success will be key to attracting youth into the agricultural sectors discussion is a great predecessor for one of Cracking the Nut’s plenary panels this year, entitled “Engaging Youth in Agriculture.” The panel will further highlight RTI’s work on the EHELD project, while experts from USAID will show examples of successful youth entrepreneurship in agriculture around the world. Catholic Relief Services will share their own experiences motivating youth to work in agriculture in Latin America, while a young entrepreneur will explain how she began her own agribusiness in Ethiopia, Queen Sheba Winery.

Read the entire Ask Ag Chat here. To learn more about Cracking the Nut 2017, go to the website and explore the agenda, featuring a variety of development and agricultural experts who will be sharing their recent work and innovations as they strive to help rural supply meet urban demand! Don't miss out—register today!