Women and youthAgriculture is underperforming in many Asia-Pacific countries and one of the reasons for this is the “gender gap” in agricultural productivity. Across the Asia-Pacific, women are producers and entrepreneurs. However, according to a 2010 FAO report, almost everywhere they cannot access productive resources, markets and services as easily as their male counterparts. This hinders their productivity and reduces their contribution to the agriculture sector and to the achievement of broader economic and social development goals. Women are also underrepresented in agricultural research and fora for decision making.
According to the Population Reference Bureau (2013), over 20 per cent of the Asia-Pacific population is youth. Although only one in five workers are between the age of 15 and 24 years, this group accounts for almost half the region’s jobless persons, according to the estimates of the International Labour Office (ILO). Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people, especially those in rural areas are limited and most of the jobs available are poorly remunerated and generally unattractive to young people. Young people are also underrepresented in decision making.
APAARI recognizes the problem of lost opportunities created through the gender gap and the disengagement of rural youth in agriculture. Women are talented farmers, entrepreneurs and scientists. Youth have enthusiasm and inherent aptitude for technology adoption and innovation. These attributes are being underutilized. APAARI can be a forum where women and youth can have their voices heard and make a bigger contribution through the following strategies:
- Women and youth are engaged in productive and rewarding activities in agri-food systems
- Strengthen the engagement of women and youth in agricultural value chains, agri- industries, businesses and services to enable them to receive a higher share of benefits from integrated markets
- Improve opportunities for women and youth in agri-food research profession
- Build capacity of women and youth in value addition, agri-food research and extension
- Women and youth are appropriately represented in policy and decision making in AFS
- Strengthen organizations of women and youth at national and regional levels to give them greater voice
- Ensure inclusive representation of women and youth in APAARI
APAARI members and partners will implement these strategies, for example, by documenting and sharing success stories on value adding activities that are attracting women and youth; involving more women and youth in expert consultations related to value chains; involving more women and youth in analytical work and communication campaigns; promoting research scholarships and other work opportunities for women and youth; coordinating training for women and youth in value addition, agri-food research and extension, entrepreneurship, ICT and knowledge management; creating opportunities for women and youth to engage in regional and global dialogue; and including women and youth in APAARI governance and policy decision making.