Namibia’s agriculture sector remains a lucrative economic sector that has so much potential to create substantial new sustainable jobs for the youth.This reduces the growing youth unemployment rate, executive chairperson of National Youth Council (NYC) Sharonice Busch has said.
Speaking at the commemoration of the International Youth Day held in Dordabis last week, she said all barriers that prevent youth from getting involved in building more inclusive and resilient food systems in Namibia must be addressed. She said this makes agriculture more appealing through embracing new technologies and making agriculture more financially rewarding to young people as well.
“The NYC recognises the urgent need to put Namibian youth at the heart of aquatic food system transformations through empowering our youth both in fisheries and aquaculture sectors,” said Busch. She added that young people in urban areas need to explore and champion urban farming by starting backyard vegetable gardens and urban community gardens to contribute to food security.
In 2020, the NYC, through the line ministry, established 14 horticulture gardens in all 14 regions. The gardens were commissioned to benefit and recruit about 84 unemployed youth between the ages of 18 to 35 years from all 121 constituencies. Commenting on these gardens, Busch said they aim to expand the gardens when more land is available for youth, therefore, calling on the agriculture minister to support NYC’s greenhouse initiatives.
Busch maintains that the potential returns of investing in young people are boundless in terms of food security, poverty reduction, employment generation, as well as peace and political stability. “Putting Namibian youth at the heart of sustainable food systems transformations will go a long way in ensuring that food systems in Namibia are productive, prosperous, and empowering for all,” she noted.
Speaking at the same event, youth and sports minister Agnes Tjongarero said due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has a devastating impact on the economy, the nation needs to drive transformational change in food systems, as an emerging strategy. “When there seems to be a fragmentation of services, dialogues are opportunities for widespread engagement, as they can act as encouragement of collaborative measures,” she said.
International Youth Day was designed by the United Nations in 1999 to signify and highlight the importance of young people not just as a future generation, but also as the current driving force of change in the world. This year’s occasion was held under the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth innovation for human and planetary health”.