Promoting Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship in the Pacific
- The Government of Vanuatu endorsed the high-level panel on ‘Promoting Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship in the Pacific’ which was held on 17th October 2017 during the first ever ‘Pacific Week of Agriculture’ in Port Vila, Vanuatu. This Side-event was organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Pacific Community (SPC), and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO).
- Over 65 delegates representing Pacific governments, financial and private sector institutions and youth as well as international and regional development partners, donors and African and Caribbean young agri-entrepreneurs were in attendance.
- The communiqué and call to action is an output of the deliberations and reflects the aspirations of those who contributed to as well as participated in this event. The legitimacy of the recommendations is based upon their credibility and input.
Facts & Figures
- More than ½ of the South Pacific’s 10 million population is under 25 years old and ¼ are between the age of 15 and 30
- The whole population is expected to double by 2050
- Youth (app. 25%) experiences problems entering both the formal and informal labour markets
- Women are more disproportionately affected than men (e.g. in Tonga, unemployment rates are higher among young females (15%) than young males (10%))
- Annually, 16.000 highly skilled Pacific Islanders leave their countries for better-paid jobs in Australia and New Zealand
Major Youth Policies
The first ‘Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy 2011-2015’ was launched at the Fourth Regional Meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) in 2010 in Fiji. In December 2013, in New Caledonia, the Third Meeting of Pacific Ministers of Youth and Sport, endorsed the ‘Pacific Youth Development Framework 2014–2023’.
It’s vision is to create ‘a sustainable Pacific where all young people are safe, respected, empowered and resilient’. One of the principal aims is to be a catalyst for investment in youth and support Pacific Island countries to implement their development objectives.
Progress in achieving significant impact is hindered by the inadequacies in vocational and tertiary education, training and skills development programmes, low education levels and limited access to finance and other investment capital that enable youth to actively pursue sustainable and rewarding self-employment.
Successful models of youth entrepreneurship exist which can be promoted and up-scaled to attract public and private investments to reduce youth unemployment and under-employment and other societal challenges facing governments and the wider society.
The High-level Panel Discussion on Promoting Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship explored and drew lessons from various initiatives and programmes aimed at advancing youth entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector. It also shed light on perspectives and options for increasing youth engagement in agri-enterprise development. There were two panels:
- Panel 1: Successful young agri-entrepreneurs from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific who shared their personal stories, lessons learned, drivers of success and pitfalls to be avoided in setting up and running a successful business. The young farmers, processors, ICT experts, marketers proposed actions that should be taken by various stakeholders to support youth enterprise development.
- Panel 2: Financiers, policymakers and development partners shared their programmes and future plans for stimulating and facilitating youth entrepreneurship and employment. Senior officials from the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture and other major agencies responded to the issues raised by the young entrepreneurs. They discussed the policy and institutional framework that is needed and the technical and financial support which their organisations can provide.
Outputs – Youth Communique
At the end of the Panel Discussion, a draft communiqué has been produced and presented which sets out a framework for action involving partnerships between governments, development partners, financial institutions, private sector and young leaders.
Five key recommendations:
1) Create the enabling environment
2) Increase access to finance
3) Increase access to support services
4) Invest in Education/Training/Skills/Technology Development
5) Strengthen partnerships between governments, development partners, financiers and youth
The outcomes will be further refined by CTA and partners to develop a regional roadmap with key actions, strategies, milestones and indicators for measuring success of joint implementation of a Pacific Youth Agripreneurship Programme that is able to attract public and private funding.