Over the next few decades, agriculture will continue to be the dominant sector of employment and a vital source of labor for most young people in Africa. Harnessing youth’s potential to participate meaningfully in their food systems, from production to plate, has the potential to increase their productivity and revenues, as well as ensure the resilience and food security of their households. However, broad generalizations often highlight that youth are disinterested in agriculture, turned away by the difficulty of the work, social stigmas and the challenges faced in earning a suitable income. Now, is this true for all youth in Liberia? What are the opportunities that could motivate youth to join and strive in the agriculture sector?
This research was conducted to help Mercy Corps and the broader international community understand the roles youth play, or could potentially play, in the agricultural development of Liberia, and ultimately provide insights on how to better engage youth in agriculture programs, from production to plate. The study focuses on:
- The perceptions, attitudes and aspirations that Liberian youth have towards agricultural livelihoods;
- The constraints and barriers these youth face and, conversely, the opportunities available to them in considering their longer-term engagement in the agricultural sector; and
- The ways gender impacts these attitudes, perceptions and differences in access to, and control over resources and decision making among male and female youth.
The findings are insightful, and challenge some of the pre-set ideas that we may have about youth and the agriculture sector.