Agriculture plays a significant role in achieving global food and nutrition security, increasing economic growth, and attaining environmental sustainability. Representing close to 40% of the global workforce, agriculture is the world’s largest provider of jobs, employing over 1.3 billion people. To transform agriculture into a more productive, sustainable, competitive, and efficient sector, demands modern knowledge and skill transfer to develop talent in agriculture. It means up-skilling and re-tooling of the current agricultural workforce. It means retaining people with skills. It means attracting new personnel and expanding the range of career opportunities available in the agriculture-food-nutrition-environment nexus. Most importantly, it means creating incentives and campaigns that encourage young people to see agriculture as a one of the best options for a career choice.


IAFN is already thinking about how to continue meaningfully engaging young agricultural leaders in 2019 and beyond. Current events include:

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Governing Council Meetings, February 14-15, Rome, Italy: We will be present at the IFAD Governing Council meetings and will coordinate a special event on access of young people to finance.  

Nuffield International Contemporary Scholars Conference, March 9-16, Des Moines, Iowa: Nuffield International is an extraordinary program that supports high-potential young farmers in traveling the world for 4-6 months as they explore an agricultural research question of their choice. The IAFN Secretariat will attend the Contemporary Scholars Conference to demonstrate to Nuffield scholars how they can incorporate participation in food policy procedures into their existing work. 



Nuffield International Contemporary Scholars Conference, March 5-11, Netherlands: The IAFN Secretariat attended Nuffield's Contemporary Scholars Conference, in part to encourage the Scholars to engage with IAFN in the context of upcoming FAO conferences, including CFS45 and Regional Biotech Meetings. 

CFS45: At the Committee on World Food Security 2018 (CFS45), the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) hosted our popular annual event, the High Level Dinner, the theme of which was "Youth in Agriculture." The Dinner was structured to celebrate accomplishments of diverse young agriculture leaders and lead guests in productive discussion on how to engage, attract, and retain youth in ag. 


2017 marked a year filled with exciting initiatives for youth in agriculture via IAFN. Highlights include: 

Young Agricultural Leaders at FAO Regional Biotech Conferences: IAFN is proud to have supported a diverse group of private sector actors, including several young farmers and agripreneurs, to attend FAO Regional Meetings on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (November) and another in Asia (September). Read about attendees' experiences here

Youth Delegation at CFS44: Nuffield International brought 8 outstanding scholars to CFS44, which took place in Rome, Italy on October 9-13. They were featured on the panel of a highly popular side event called "What Today's Young Agricultural Leaders Need to Meet Tomorrow's SDG Challenges." IAFN also organized attendance by young ag leaders from Mexico and Kenya. Together, this group of inspiring young people made interventions at plenary, networked with members of IAFN, attended the High Level Dinner, attended side events, and met with the DG of the FAO. Their insights were well-received by the private sector, civil society, and high-level officials alike. Read some of their thoughts here

Youth in Ag Luncheon at the High-Level Political Forum: On July 13th, in the context of HLPF, IAFN hosted the Agriculture and Food Day, the goal of which was raise awareness of the critical need for investment in SDG2. The day included a focused plenary session, a series of roundtable discussions on interlinkages of the SDGs, and a dynamic luncheon featuring youth in agriculture. Read more about it here


CFS42: Given the critical need to attract and train a new generation of farmers, farm leaders, agribusiness workers and managers, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) held a special event on October 15th, 2015, in Rome on “Developing the knowledge, skills and talent of youth to further food security and nutrition”. This interactive discussion surrounded lessons learned and potential policy implications on how to develop the knowledge, skills and talent of youth. Hlami Ngwenya of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) was there to represent the Private Sector Mechanism on the panel.

Youth were also encouraged to pitch their ideas for making agriculture more attractive to young talent through a new initiative, the CFS 42 Youth for Food Security and Nutrition (Y4FSN) Idea Incubator.

A Call to Action: A coalition of interested partners has brought in front of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) a call to action to define strategies for improving talent development systems in agriculture.

Talent Development in Agriculture
Perfect Opportunities for Youth in Agriculture
Knowledge, Skills, and Talent Development in the Agri-Food Sector

Side Event at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development: Talent Development in Agriculture – Growing Ambitions for Food

Financing for DevelopmentWednesday, 15 July 2015,
Hilton Hotel, Jacaranda, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

IAFN hosted a side-event on Talent Development in Agriculture – Growing Ambitions for Food during the Third International Conference on Financing for Development #Ffd3
Side-event Information on UN.ORG

Organising Partners:

  • Young Professionals in Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD)
  • UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
  • African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS)
  • Global Forum for Agricultural Research Services (GFRAS)
  • Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)


RT @1000Days: Q8: Our last question as we wrap-up... Finish this sentence: In a world where every one of us is well nourished, __________…
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 14:02