Climate change poses drastic risks to every facet of our lives, from diminishing water availability, higher temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and more frequent extreme weather events. Populations in the developing world, which are already vulnerable and food insecure, are likely to be the most seriously affected by the impacts of climate change. Nearly half of the economically active population in developing countries relies on agriculture for their livelihood and about 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas. Combined with global population growth and increasing demands on agriculture, climate change threatens the progress of global food security and the long-term sustainability of agricultural production systems and the larger landscape.
The greater part of the world is vulnerable to climate change either because of their economic dependency on climate-related activities and products; their geographic location or even their incapacity to develop a resilient environment. Prolong droughts, increased flooding, reduction in agricultural yield and other environmental damages threaten to slow the pace of economic development and poverty eradication.
During recent focus group discussions (FGD) conducted for representatives of youth groups in northern and southern Ghana under the theme: Climate Smart Agriculture-Constraints and Opportunities, representatives from the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) advocated the need for meaningful engagement of Ghanaian youth in CSA through skills training, financing, access to productive resources, marketing and infrastructural development. The representatives further advanced the need for active and substantive engagement of youth in national-level planning, implementation, and monitoring.
The discussions focused on exploring the new dimension of climate impact on agriculture and identifying youth challenges and job creation opportunities in the sector. Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.
The workshops were organised by Syecomp Ghana Ltd as part of activities under a grant activity: Improving Approaches to Mainstreaming Gender in Ghana’s Youth Policy and Youth in Agriculture Programme: Focus on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Market-Oriented Value Chains; and sponsored by the USAID|Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project, which is being implemented by Chemonics International Inc. (USA).
The FGD explored the new dimension of climate impact on agriculture and identifying youth challenges and job creation opportunities in the sector. Participants were generally of the view that Ghanaian youth were already playing active roles in protecting the environment and identifying and implementing innovative climate change solutions such as climate-smart agriculture. It was noted that with increasing vulnerability of communities to climate change impacts and projected future impacts of climate change, it is urgent to adopt and scale out sustainable agricultural practices and innovations.
A representative from Youth with Innovative Ideas (YII) in Tamale was of the view that CSA could serve as an entry opportunity for Ghanaian youth to develop unique climate-smart solutions. These include the use of sound climate data and science, and developing and deploying climate smart technologies and innovations. Similarly, a representative from Farmers’ Apprentice Ghana (FAG) shared the opinion that Ghanaian youth are adaptable and can quickly make low-carbon lifestyles and career choices a part of their daily lives therefore should have an active part in decision-making in the country.
A representative from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Regional office, Ho acknowledged that climate-smart agriculture requires continued research on best models, new and improved ways of doing things and innovations to enhance farmers’ resilience. This thus provides a huge potential for educated youth to join in the research and in developing innovative ways of addressing some of the systemic challenges in CSA. The representative further emphasised the need for gender-sensitive investments to enable young men and women take part in research and innovation.
This is the 6th in a 12-series blog articles to espouse the context of the Position Paper on effectively mainstreaming Gender and Youth in Agriculture in Ghana with support from USAID/Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project (USAID/APSP).
Author: Syecomp Ghana Ltd
Email the author: Projects@syecomp.com
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.