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. Due to lockdowns and movement restrictions smallholder farmers and youth in agribusiness 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.
Rural youth are at high risk to disproportionately suffer both from the pandemic and its aftermath. 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, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO), AgriProFocus, the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and Practical Action are hosting an online discussion on the Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa ( CANA ) platform to discuss the following questions:
- How is COVID-19 and other climate-related shocks affecting the life and livelihood of youth in agribusiness?
- What are the ways to organize work and resources to cope with the crisis from an economic and health perspective?
- How have governments and other organizations supported youth in agribusiness to cope with these challenges?
- What lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic can be applied in the context of climate change?
The online discussion has been ongoing from 20th May 2020 to 5th June 2020 and will culminate in a one day online virtual interaction on 18th June 2020.
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.
13:00 Welcome and opening remarks, Matthew Fielding, SIANI.
13:05 Highlights from the CANA online discussion (Setting the scene), Catherine Mungai, CCAFS EA.
13:15 Panel Discussion – Sharing Experiences from Youth Agripreneurs. Panelists:
- Ng’ayo Navies
- RuhakanaJ Taremwa, CEO Agrotourism Association Uganda
- Ian Mutwiri, Founder and Director, Home range Poultry Ltd
- Anthony Malovi
13:50 Sharing of interventions being introduced by various stakeholders and what the voices of young Agripreneurs look like, Jacob Ochieng, Practical Action Kenya and Marzia Pafumi, UN-FAO.
14:00 Q & A: Interaction with participants, Sharon Anyango, AgriProFocus.
14:20 Closing remarks and next steps, Alpha Gitau, 2SCALE.