Policy to chart way forward for youths

December 22, 2022

The Ministry of Agriculture launched the “2022-2027 Youth in Agriculture Policy” on Wednesday 21 December 2022, to inspire, empower and bring the innovation, energy, and creativity of young people into the agri-food system.

The Fiji Youth in Agriculture Policy has been driven by the growing recognition of the critical role young farmers can play in modernising the agriculture sector in Fiji.

Speaking during the launch, the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Dr Vinesh Kumar said, as the age of farmers around the world and in Fiji continues to rise, the urgency to bring the innovation, energy and creativity of our young people into the agri-food system is vital.

“Through this policy, we hope to chart a clear way forward in how to ensure the ongoing productivity of our sector, through actively promoting young farmers, while also ensuring sustainability,” he said.

“Under this policy, young people will be encouraged and supported through a 4-pronged approach of increasing access to land, finance and markets; improving agricultural education and training; increasing commercial agriculture opportunities and supporting sustainability.”

“We understand we cannot do this alone and will continue to develop partnerships and strong linkages with key stakeholders addressing young people in agriculture, this in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.”

The findings of the Youth in Agriculture Assessment Report from the 2020 Fiji Agriculture Census indicated that young farmers in Fiji require more direct targeting of support to facilitate their entry and retention in the sector.

He said the young farmers and especially young women are under-represented in almost all criteria identified in the census, such as access to land, finance, markets, equipment, extension services, technical assistance and training.

“By designing a policy to specifically address these challenges, the Ministry hopes to successfully pass down the mantle of ensuring food and nutrition security, increasing agricultural productivity and continued economic growth through future generations,” said Dr Kumar.

The 2022-2027 Youth in Agriculture Policy has undergone a consultative process that included youth groups, Government and non-government organizations, development partners and traditional authorities across the country and will be guided by the inter-Ministerial Youth in Agriculture Working Group formed for this purpose.

He said this policy will inspire young farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to empower young people for active participation across all aspects of the agri-food system.